Survivor of fiery crash thanks rescuers

Posted at: 02/26/2013 7:00 PM
By: Kumi Tucker

ALBANY -- Karen Weller, her four-month-old son Tajaye and her best friend Carol Dion were traveling from Canada to New York City to visit family when they were involved in a deadly crash early Friday morning.

Weller was trapped and smashed out a window as she screamed for help.

Mike Curtis of Glenmont was working security at the nearby 21B Sportsbar and ran over to help.  

"I saw lights coming at me. That's what I saw when he was coming," said Weller. "When I was tooting my horn and he was running across the street with a fire extinguisher. There's no better moment to know that help is coming."

Weller has a broken foot, fractured rib and many cuts and bruises. But she is focused on her infant son Tajaye, who she says suffered two broken legs and multiple skull fractures.

Police say Julian With of Coxsackie was going the wrong way on the Thruway and died when he slammed into Dion's car head-on near exit 21-B in Coxsackie.

Weller is full of praise for Curtis and his quick action.  First, he got the baby to safety.

"And he told me to just ease back a little bit towards my right and he smashed the glass in. And he just hugged me with bear arms. Just hugged me, just pulled me out," she said tearfully.

"We just got the baby safe and her out," said Mike Curtis. "And there was a little bit of fire under her car. Got that out. That was about all we could do until the paramedics and everybody else got there."

Weller grieves for her best friend, Carol Dion, who was killed in the crash. They both worked in geriatric nursing.

Weller wants to go home as soon as she and her son can.  She's alone in an unfamiliar city, in a different country, trying to navigate medical bills and insurance.  She has an attorney from Martin, Harding and Mazzotti to help.

"In an ideal situation, the only thing Karen should have to worry about is getting her son home, taking care of her and her injuries and her child's injuries, so that's what we're working towards now," said attorney Charles Farcher with Martin, Harding and Mazzotti.

While Weller is hoping to get her son home to the rest of their family soon, she is full of praise for all the help and care they have received in Albany.

She says she plans to come back again to see her rescuer, Mike Curtis.