SALEM, Ohio - Just a little more than a month after falling more than 40 feet from a highway overpass, a 22-year-old Salem woman returns home.
Alissa Boyle was just 10 weeks away from graduating from Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania when the nursing student and a fellow classmate were on their way to a clinical at a hospital in Morganstown.
"On our way down, there was a guy who had flipped his car on the left side and we hurried up and pulled over and we got out," Alissa said.
As they were assessing his injuries, Alissa heard someone yell there's a truck coming.
"I'm thinking, you know, someone's coming to help us, an ambulance is coming, not really, not really a semi truck is coming at me," Alissa said.
By the time Alissa turned around, the truck was right there and she had no choice but to jump over the barrier of an overpass on I-79.
It was an early February morning and Alissa says it was still dark and she didn't realize she was on a bridge.
"I wasn't thinking that I was going to fall. I was thinking that I was going to jump over the guardrail and that I was going to land and my biggest fear was that the semi truck was going to hit me," Alissa said.
Alissa says she remembers hitting the ground but then blacked out. When she woke up she was in unbearable pain and couldn't feel her legs.
She was rushed to Ruby Memorial, the same hospital she was on her way to for her clinical.
Alissa's parents were on vacation in Jamaica and got the call every parent fears.
"We immediately tried to get a flight out, which was difficult, but we were able to leave about 3:30 that afternoon," said Lori Boyle, Alissa's Mother.
They got to Alissa's bedside around 3:30 in the morning and found their daughter with a severe spinal injury.
Since then Alissa's gone through two surgeries and physical therapy. She's still unable to walk, but she is getting sensation back in her upper thighs and is hopeful that's a good sign.
"I think the doctor told me about three to six months is when you really start to see things come back," Alissa said. "I'm only a month out of surgery, so I still have a lot of hope.
Even after the accident, Alissa says she wouldn't change a thing.
"I feel like God had a plan for me and I'm hoping that I will be an inspiration," Alissa said.
Alissa plans to go back to school this summer to finish her degree, but she will participate in the May graduation with her class and her goal is to walk across the stage.