Rescue personnel in Anson and Richmond counties were formally thanked April 4 for helping to save the life of an Anson County commissioner in March.
Vancine Sturdivant, commissioner of Lilesville, took a break from the board’s regular agenda to play a slideshow about a fatal wreck she was in last month.
At 8:37 a.m. March 9, Sturdivant was on Exit 306 off of U.S. Highway 74 East just outside of Rockingham when she was in a head-on collision. Robert and Rose Little, of Pawleys Island, S.C. were going the wrong way on the exit and collided with Sturdivant, according to the accident report from the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
Robert Little was pronounced dead at the scene, while Rose Little and Sturdivant were transported for medical care.
Sturdivant has pushed through recovery and has attended community events such as the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics in Anson County late last month. On April 4, she said she wanted to thank those who helped save her.
She opened with a slideshow that said, “Heaven can wait! My work is not done!” The slideshow included images of her Cadillac both before the wreck and afterwards, when it was smashed and resting on its roof.
Sturdivant said she felt her late husband, who died in September of 2015, with her during the collision. She said both of them believed in the importance of certain numbers repeated throughout the Bible, including the numbers three and seven.
The number three is often associated with the holy trinity of God and Christ’s resurrection on the third day, among other Biblical references. Genesis, the first book of the Bible, says that seven is the number of days it took God to create the universe, among other examples where the number is key.
“Everything that happened that day happened in three or seven minutes, or numbers,” Sturdivant said. “Those were our numbers.”
The collision happened at 8:37 a.m. State troopers were the first to respond three minutes later at 8:40 a.m.
“Everything looked like it happened in slow motion,” Sturdivant said. “I said, ‘What in the world?’ and went to calling out to God. ‘Oh, God, oh, God!’”
That was when she felt her husband’s presence.
“When I went to crying out to God, my husband said, ‘Turn loose of the wheel, let go of the wheel, let go of the wheel, let go of the wheel, I got you.’” She instantly felt calmer.
OnStar, an emergency service featuring an automatic crash detector that can help contact a representative and emergency services, told her that she’d been in a collision and that emergency responders were notified. Sturdivant was barely able to move, hanging upside down in her Cadillac with her seatbelt choking her.
As people showed up to help, she could hear people outside, some saying, “Mama V., we got you, we’re praying for you.”
Once she was rescued and received medical attention, Sturdivant learned she had a hole in her lung and three fractured ribs. Her number had shown up again.
Then, she learned she would be sent home in three days.
One other spiritual moment was the realization that immediately after the accident, a yellow ‘Thank you, Jesus’ sign lying by the side of her car that had no broken windows.
Her friend, Anson County school board member Carol Ann Gibson, sent her a text soon after the wreck that Sturidvant displayed on the slideshow, saying that Sturidvant’s husband, nicknamed “Gumby,” wasn’t ready for her since she was needed on earth, and that the two of them would have eternity to catch up in heaven.
Sturdivant said the accident was so severe that she was initially thought dead by a Highway Patrol trooper, but she miraculously survived and has recovered well.
In addition to God, she credited first responders on the scene and those who have supported her since the accident with her life and recovery.
Trooper Erik Johnson, who headed the crash investigation, received a plaque. Johnson, originally from Anson County, graduated from the 140th Basic Patrol School on Nov. 18, 2016 following 15 weeks of training and serves in Richmond County, according to a release from the Highway Patrol last fall.
Anson County Sheriff Landric Reid, Lilesville Emergency Medical Services, Lilesville Fire Department and its chief, Marty Morton, were also given plaques, as were Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons and representatives from Cordova Fire and Rescue.
“I’ve always been taught that there’s a God,” Sturdivant said. “I’ve always been taught that there’s guardian angels.”
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.
Anson County Commissioner Vancine Sturdivant, left, thanks Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons for his support after she was injured in a fatal collision last month.
Cordova rescue personnel were honored by Anson County commissioner Vancine Sturdivant during the board’s meeting Tuesday night. Sturdivant was injured in a fatal wreck on March 9.
Vancine Sturdivant, an Anson County commissioner, hugs Lilesville Fire Chief Marty Morton Jr. during the board’s meeting Tuesday night.
Anson County Sheriff Landric Reid receives a plaque from Vancine Sturdivant, Reid’s friend and the Lilesville county commissioner.
Anson County commissioner Vancine Sturdivant thanks Anson County Sheriff Landric Reid with a plaque of appreciation for his support after she was involved in a collision in March.
Trooper Erik Johnson receives a plaque of appreciation from Anson County commissioner Vancine Sturdivant. Johnson headed the investigation of the head-on collision Sturdivant was injured in last month.