Jenna Boisclair was in the Mettowee River when she awoke, or at least realized what was going on – nothing was clear at that point.
She had just been thrown from a crashing car as it came to rest upside down in the water.
“I just hit the water and was swimming,” she said.
Boisclair said she was in water over her head and began to make for shore.
She wasn’t sure, but thinks that she went through the sunroof to end up in the river.
The next thing she was aware of was screaming.
Vincent ‘Vinny’ Garolli, 20, another passenger in the vehicle, was trapped and he thought he was going to die.
A head sticking up out of the water was all she could see.
“He just kept screaming for me to help him and not let him die,” Boisclair said from home while recovering after spending two nights in the hospital.
Despite injuries including bruises, stitches, a broken wrist and a fractured back, Boisclair swam to Garolli and held his head out of the water until help arrived.
When she got to Garolli’s side she found she was in water up just above her waist. She was able to gain footing and hold Garolli up out of the water.
“I just told him I wasn’t going to leave him,” she said.
She estimated she was in the water holding Garolli’s head up for 10 minutes before someone came along to help.
When the car was finally moved enough to free Garolli, Boisclair said she was already in an ambulance hading for the hospital.
Boisclair said she had been in the backseat of the car as the group was leaving Price Chopper. Because she was in the back she was not wearing a seatbelt.
The driver, Jessica Manell, 18, was showing her passengers how much the steering wheel shook due a problem with the vehicle’s tires as they traveled north on Route 22, Boisclair said.
When she let go of the wheel another passenger in the car, Devin Lewis, 20, grabbed the wheel.
“All I remember was him grabbing the wheel and then we all ended up in the river,” she said.
Everyone shouted when Lewis made the grab for the wheel, but too late.
Boisclair said the last time she saw Garolli was at Glens Falls Hospital where he spent one night, she two.
She said she saw him briefly while waiting for a scan or X-ray. His mother was with him and they both thanked her, she said.
Asked if there was a lesson learned after the crash, Boisclair said, “Yeah a big lesson. I learned, I just really thought I was dying, my life is definitely going to slow down. (It is going to) come to a halt, hanging out with my friends who can drive – I won’t be in a car with anyone but my mom for quite a while.”