DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Waukee woman is being hailed a hero after calling 911 and staying to comfort a family involved in an icy wreck on Interstate 80.
“The roads were white, but it was not snow. It was ice," Deb Mitchell said.
Two weeks ago, Mitchell was driving on I-80 near Waukee, when thunder and sleet hit parts of the metro.
“I will never forget it. It was a day that apparently I was supposed to be in one place that day," Mitchell said.
Mitchell says it is a day that changed her life.
“I saw an SUV go off the side of the road into an embankment," Mitchell said. “You just have this sinking feeling of oh my gosh."
Mitchell was quick to try and help.
The SUV remains where the crash happened, in a ditch near the Grand Prairie Parkway exit off I-80.
“I quickly looked around. The car couldn't get the doors open. I could hear people, and I saw that the airbags deployed in the SUV. I could also hear people, so I knew that was a good sign," Mitchell said.
Mitchell heard the Nicholsons, a family of five from Nebraska.
“I just started talking to them and told them that help was on the way. They were in shock. The children were in pain, shaking and crying. I was able to calm them and let them know that people were coming," Mitchell said.
Some of the Nicholsons suffered serious injuries but everyone survived.
“Since then, I have thought about how these people are,” Mitchell said.
Little did Mitchell know, Sara Nicholson was also looking for Mitchell.
A Facebook post helped reunited the Nicholsons with the person they call their guardian angel.
“Once we did meet, I was able to go to a local hospital, and we had a big hug and a cry and we were able to talk about what happened that day," Mitchell said.
Sara Nicholson declined an on-camera interview but says she caused the crash by applying the brakes too hard.
On Monday, she is with her husband, Rob, at Methodist in Des Moines. Rob was just released from the ICU. He has broken ribs, among other injuries. Their three kids are back in Nebraska.