Florida mother of 3 reflects on Christmas Day car crash, those who came to her rescue

 A Florida mother is grateful first responders and bystanders stepped in to help after a devastating car crash on Christmas Day.

Ayanna Montes, of Jacksonville, said she was traveling with three of her kids to Kissimmee to spend the holiday with family. While they were on Interstate 95 in Volusia County, she said her steering wheel locked up. She lost control of the vehicle and hit a pole. 

"I pressed down as hard as I could on the brakes, but nothing worked," Montes said, on the verge of tears. "We flipped four times and then landed into a pond." 

They were all rescued with the help of several bystanders, who pried the car open.


In the aftermath of the crash, several Ormond Beach Firefighters and Volusia County sheriff's deputies helped retrieve the gifts from the heavily damaged car. 

"I was truly thankful they were so calm and understanding," she said.

Due to the water, they had to use a horizontal ladder to reach the vehicle. They passed the gifts along, though many of them were soaked. Deputies took the items back to their station to dry them out. Once they were dry, those gifts and several other donated ones were delivered to the family at the hospital. 

"They didn't have to donate extra presents, you know. But I feel like they understood. If this was their kids or their family, ‘What would I do?’"

The children are ages two, seven, and eight. One of the children suffered a broken wrist, and another suffered cuts from the glass during the crash. Everyone is expected to make a full recovery.

"Whatever faith or whatever religion you have, just continue to go through that," she said. "Stay close to your family. Any problems that you have, let them go. We're not promised tomorrow."