Herriman family searching for good Samaritans after Christmas Day crash

Dec 27, 2023, 6:48 AM

HERRIMAN — A mother and daughter want to find the good Samaritans who helped the daughter after a crash led to chaos on Christmas morning.

That 18-year-old daughter said her exhaustion caused her to fall asleep at the wheel. Not only did her seat belt save her, but so did the people who stopped on their holiday to help.

The day after Christmas, wrapped gifts still sat under the tree at Shantel Bateman’s house.

For Bateman and her daughter, Sammie Bronson, presents weren’t a priority.

“We’ve just been enjoying each other’s company,” Bronson said, holding her mom’s hand as they sat on the couch.

She spent most of the day resting, after what she experienced Christmas morning.

Sammie explained she awoke at 4 a.m. on Dec. 24 after not getting much sleep, to go to work at Walmart as a digital shopper. After working a 10-hour shift there, Sammie said she had to finish some Christmas gifts.

She then drove to her dad’s house in Lehi for a Christmas Eve gathering, and after that pulled an all-nighter to finish her sister’s homemade gift.

“I’ve been making her dollhouses and little doll buildings that she could play with,” Bronson explained, and the latest building was a grocery store.

On Christmas morning, after barely sleeping, she spent time with her dad and then drove 30 minutes back to Herriman.

On the way, she began to feel tired but didn’t realize just how exhausted she was.

“I just felt tired, but I felt like I was just going to need like a nap later that day,” Bronson explained. “Then next second, my eyes are closed and I’m sleeping, and I’m hitting two metal poles on the side of the road.”

Bronson’s car drifted off Mountain View Corridor and sailed into a ravine, launched over a boulder and rolled five to six times, landing on its side.

“Things were just scattered everywhere. I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t find my phone,” Bronson said, getting emotional as she spoke. “I was using my elbow, trying to break in windows to get out.”

Sammie Bronson’s car, after firefighters flipped it back on its wheels. She had just purchased the car two weeks ago. (Shantel Bateman)

She said she crawled out the back window, and after going back in the car to find her phone, finally made it out right as a group of Good Samaritans were running toward her in the field.

A mother and daughter, Sammie said, were among the people to rush in and help. The mom took Sammie’s jacket and put it down on the weeds so that Bronson had a place to sit. The daughter ran to get water.

“They all had me sit down, and brought me a bottle of water and made me drink, and take deep breaths,” she recounted.

Bronson, who had just gotten her car two weeks ago, was freaking out about the car and crying. Her crafts and Christmas presents were scattered everywhere and destroyed.

The daughter gave her a hug.

“As a teenage girl, just having a teenage girl there when you have just strangers around you is the most comforting feeling,” Bronson said, crying. “And she just sat there, hugging me, telling me how much of a miracle I was.”

Bronson holds her mother’s hand while talking about her Christmas Day car crash. (KSL TV)

They eventually went on their way, and Shantel arrived after the good Samaritans left.

After seeing how mangled Bronson’s car was, she said she was “so grateful that I was holding my daughter.”

The family and Herriman police credit Bronson’s seat belt for saving her life and allowing her to walk away from the crash without any significant injuries. And they also shared a message against driving while fatigued.

“I never would even have imagined that I would fall asleep at the wheel like I did,” Bronson said. “Don’t do it. Pull over. Call somebody to drive you somewhere.”

She only experienced bruising, soreness and whiplash.

“Something and somebody was watching over me and making sure that I walked out of that alive, and got to come home to my family,” she said, in tears.

Shantel is now hoping to find the strangers who stepped in, so she can connect with them in person and thank them. She’s hoping they will look her up and reach out, and she posted in the Herriman Happenings Facebook group. Herriman police said the police report number is HR23-25456, for anyone who reaches out.

“Knowing that there was another mother and daughter out there showing that love to my child when I wasn’t there and couldn’t be there yet means so much to me,” Bateman said, as tears streamed down her face.

This is why the presents this year, can wait, as they’re reminded of what this holiday season is really about — family, love and gratefulness.

“I’m grateful that strangers could love my daughter for me,” Bateman said. “Anybody that just stopped to make sure my daughter was okay on Christmas, I’m just so thankful to you.”

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Herriman family searching for good Samaritans after Christmas Day crash