“I’d Be Dead,” Teen’s Actions Save Her From Massive Truck Explosion

This drone photo shows how severe the damage was the next day after crews cleaned up the hazardous material. (Photo by Joe Morgan)

  MANCHESTER – Imagine being a brand new driver at 18 years old and suddenly being in an explosive car accident that could have ended your life.

  Marissa Patterson explained how her gut recreation to the situation is what ultimately saved her life that day.

  “The deer came out of nowhere and after I hit it, I spun out. My immediate reaction was to get out of the car. I’ve never been in a car accident before. I’m a first-time driver, that was my first car,” Marissa said. “I got out of my car and was on the phone with 911 telling them they needed to get my car out of the middle of the road so other people wouldn’t get hurt. Two minutes later the truck hit my car, flipped and blew up.”

Photo courtesy Ocean County Sheriff’s Department

  At 3 a.m. on November 3, Marissa was driving east on Route 37 when a deer ran out in front of her car. As a result of hitting the deer, the car spun out and became disabled in the roadway, unable to be driven.


  While Marissa stood in a safe location and called police, a truck pulling a tanker trailer filled with 8,700 gallons of gasoline drove right into her car causing the truck to swerve and hit the concrete center barrier.

  The cab separated from its trailer, went over the concrete barrier and came to a stop on the westbound shoulder of 37. The trailer then overturned causing the gasoline to spill and explode.

  “It was really dark and there were no lights on that side of the road. I was telling police they need to move my car quickly before another accident happened. Two minutes later the truck hit my car and exploded. It was like a bomb went off. It was super hot and the fumes were terrible,” Marissa said.

  Miraculously, neither Marissa or the truck driver were injured in the accident, according to Manchester Township Police.

  Marissa’s mother Pamela said how this incident can really bring awareness to other drivers who get into a car accident.

  “Marissa didn’t understand at first why everyone was making a big deal out of it. I tried to explain to her that… you could be saving people’s lives. You get into an accident, exit regardless,” Pamela said. “My other daughter said how if it was her, she would have stayed in the car and waited for the police to come because she’s afraid of the dark… if Marissa didn’t leave her car, she would be dead.”

Photo by Denise Maynard

  “At the moment I’m avoiding looking at any photos or videos from the accident because it’s scary,” Marissa explained. “But I have not been able to get in contact with the driver of the truck at all. It actually kind of bothers me because I honestly wanted to make sure that he was ok.”