PAYSON, Utah (ABC4) – The outcome was nearly tragic when a pair of Payson teenagers rolled over in their off-road utility vehicle last week but they’re both still alive, thanks to what their families say was a series of miracles.
15-year-old friends Saydee Bowen and Avery Bott were having a blast driving a UTV last Thursday on trails in the Fairview Lakes area but minutes after they took a selfie, they rolled several times into a ditch. Bott’s mother believes her daughter made a last-second decision to save her friend.
“She cranked the wheel so she would have hit the ground instead of Saydee,” Alisha Dunford tells ABC4. “I know she sacrificed herself to protect Saydee because as we were talking, she doesn’t think Saydee would have survived the impact.”
“I don’t know how I survived,” Bowen told ABC4 News, Monday. “When I had rolled, it felt like somebody had put their hands on me and my first thought goes to my uncle that died, my Uncle Dean and it kind of felt like I had grabbed his hand when I climbed out but I look around and no one was there…It was definitely a miracle.”
Bowen had bruises and a concussion, while Bott, who suspended upside down in her seatbelt, had broken ribs and punctures to her aorta, lungs, spleen, and liver, struggled to breathe.
“I was really scared,” Bowen said. “I knew I wasn’t able to give up because I was out alone by myself and I knew if I would have given up, she would have died.”
Unable to get Bott free, Bowen broke a side mirror with her fist.
“I used a piece of glass and I sawed her out of her seatbelt,” Bowen said. “So I was able to lower her carefully to the ground.”
“The doctors said if she was left hanging in that position, if Saydee didn’t break the mirror and sawed the seatbelt off of her, she would have died, dangling in that position,” Dunford said.
Bott’s phone had dialed 911 on its own but dispatchers weren’t able to pinpoint their location. Just then, a group of good Samaritans rode by and stopped to help. They had a GPS that guided rescuers and a medical helicopter to the crash site. They got here just in time to save her.
“Grateful to the many miracles that happened that day,” Bott’s grandmother Susan Hoyt said. “Grateful to Saydee for being our little hero. Grateful for the good Samaritans that stayed with us, who actually guided LifeFlight there because we couldn’t get the right coordinates.”
On Sunday, Bowen was able to visit Bott in the cardiac ICU at Primary Children’s Hospital and though she’s not quite up to speaking about the incident just yet, Bott did write a letter for her mother to read.
“I’m so grateful Saydee saved me,” it read in part. “It sucks that we got in the crash but I know Saydee was supposed to be with me. I’m grateful my phone dialed 911. I felt my grandma who’s passed away and my great-grandma surrounding me and they were there helping me.”
Bott remains in the hospital where her mother says she’s now out of critical condition and on her way to a full recovery.