Semi truck driver thankful 5-year-old girl is safe after deadly - KPTV - FOX 12

Semi truck driver thankful 5-year-old girl is safe after deadly I-5 crash

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Semi truck driver Sergio Valente. (KPTV) Semi truck driver Sergio Valente. (KPTV)
Photo: OSP Photo: OSP

A fiery crash along I-5 claimed two lives but out of the wreckage comes a story of survival. A 5-year-old girl made it out alive after a motorhome plowed into a parked semi truck.

The driver of the semi truck spoke with FOX 12 and said he's pretty shaken up. 

Sergio Valente has been driving semi's for six years and said he's never experienced anything like this.

"You literally get into shock and you don't know how to react. Never have I actually experienced such a thing myself."

Asleep in the cab of his semi parked on the shoulder of the I-5 ramp just south of Harrisburg, during a 10 hour break on a long haul to Fresno. Valente said it was a rude awakening when a motorhome slammed into the back of his semi.

"The vehicle just rocked side to side. That I felt, and that woke me up, literally."

An officer, who just happened to be driving by the Oak Grove rest are on I-5, stopped to help before the crash was even called in. In the middle of the deadly and gruesome scene, a shaken up Valente did what he could to help.

"My surprise was to see the scene, that an RV had crashed and rear ended my trailer. At that point, I got in shock."

Officials said three people were inside the motorhome, two adults and one child. Sadly, the adults, Sandra Bishop, 69, of Albany, and Michael Bunten, 26, of Bellevue, Nebraska, died in the crash. But a 5-year-old girl was heard crying from inside the motorhome.

"They went and knocked on the windows and they were able to hear the little girl, and that's when we all rushed in to help her out."

The little girl was taken to a Springfield hospital and is expected to be OK. 

Meanwhile, the effects of the deadly crash have taken roll on Valente's psyche.

"It's one of those moments you start thinking was I at the right place at the right moment, and the wrong place at the wrong moment, and this could have been avoided. My heart goes out to them and my prayers as well, but I literally thank the creator for keeping alive that little girl."

For now, Valente is back in the drivers seat ready to move forward.

No word yet on what caused the motorhome to veer off the road. The crash is still under investigation.

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