BOISE -- Jennifer Mares was just days away from receiving her driver s license when tragedy struck Tuesday morning.
The 14-year-old Carey High School freshman was getting in her last few hours of driver's education training with another student, 15-year-old Austin Hennefer and her 41-year-old instructor Jeff Mecham, when the trio was involved in an accident with another car.
Austin was killed in the accident that also left Jennifer, her instructor and another man hospitalized.
The crash happened early Tuesday morning at the intersection of Highway 20 and Highway 75, about 18 miles west of Carey.
Jennifer is now recovering at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise after being transported by ambulance from St. Luke s Magic Valley in Twin Falls. She underwent surgery Thursday to repair a broken pelvis.
Jennifer says she is lucky to be alive.
I was kind of half asleep when we were driving, she said.
Jennifer was in the back of the driver's education car early Tuesday morning awaiting her turn to drive.
I was going to drive after he finished that turn, but I didn't get to drive, we didn't get to finish the turn, she said.
Her classmate, 15-year-old Austin Hennefer, was at the wheel.
Jennifer saw headlights coming towards the car just moments before impact.
I saw it when it was like 100 feet away. I thought it was going to slow down, but it didn't, she said.
The Blaine County Sheriff's Office says the impact of the crash killed Austin and badly injured Jennifer and instructor Jeff Mecham.
I remember the car hitting us but I don't remember feeling anything, Jennifer said. I woke up for a little bit and I was trying to wake up Austin, but you know he didn't wake up, and I was kind of waving out the window for help. I thought it was a dream, I thought I was dreaming it all but then I realized I wasn't because you know, I felt it all.
Jennifer was pinned in the back seat of the car and had to be cut out of the wreckage by first responders.
You couldn't get the doors open, the locks, nothing, Jennifer said. So they had to tear apart the car to get me out. My legs were squished so they had to tear apart the door. Finally they did and when they pulled me out it was painful, I could feel like burning in me. It hurt.
Jennifer says she's hesitant to get back in a car andadds it's been hard for her to sleep.She's had several nightmares since the accident.
Everyone's been telling me I'm lucky. I think I'm really lucky, she said.
Jennifer will have to undergo physical therapyto recover from the broken pelvis.
Hospital officials say Mecham was listed in critical condition on Friday, while the other driver, 45-year-old Sergio Lopez-Rodriguez of Gooding,has beendowngraded from critical to serious condition.
The Blaine County Sheriff s Office is continuing to investigate the accident. They are waiting for the crash victims to recover so they can interview them.
The sheriff s office believes slick roads may have been a factor in the crash.