February 25, 2008 was supposed to be the start of a great week for Virginia Murolo, a 35-year veteran ER nurse. The 54-year-old Stratford, Connecticut resident woke up at 4am to pack the family minivan with her husband Pat. The couple was set to depart on a long-awaited cruise to Mexico later that day.
At about 5:30am, they set out onto I-91 toward Bradley Airport to meet their flight to the cruise departure point in Tampa, Florida. The stars still twinkled in the pre-dawn sky, and the highway was only just starting to get its usual mess of commuters.
Everything seemed great for the couple. This was their shot at some over-due relaxation.
At the same time as the Murolos drove merrily up I-91, an 18-wheeler was driving on the same highway, headed southbound. Unbeknownst to the driver of the truck, one of its wheels, tire and all, was dangerously loose. As the truck continued down I-91, the wheel became even unsteadier. The truck driver was still unaware.
It was at the one chance moment, the few seconds in time in which the Murolos passed the unsteady 18-wheeler, that all hell broke loose.
The wheel, finally completely dislodged from the truck, flew off the axel. It bounced haphazardly between cars, and over the median. Then, it tore the Murolo’s minivan in half.
The driver of the truck kept going.
Pat, miraculously untouched, managed to maneuver the van to the side of the road. Dazed, and completely uncertain of what had just happened, he reached out to his wife with a shaking hand. He asked if she was alright.
There was no answer.
He turned toward her, and saw someone that once resembled his wife. Then he realized the unfortunate truth. The tire had hit Virginia directly in the face, head, and neck.
She was unresponsive.
It was then she began to vomit blood.
Now, 2 years later, and 90 percent recovered, Virginia says that in no uncertain terms, she should not be alive today.
“Never, in 35 years of nursing, have I ever heard of anybody sustaining all of [the injuries I sustained] and surviving,” says Virginia. “And the fact that I’m a functioning survival is 100 percent a miracle. I should be dead. There’s no question about it.”
Virginia had suffered a laundry list of serious injuries, 14 to be exact. The most serious of which including bleeding, and even shifting, of her brain.
After a seven week stay in Yale-New Haven Hospital, Virginia was transferred to Gaylord Rehab in Wallingford. She stayed there for a few months, and was then moved to a half-way house for people who had suffered traumatic brain injuries. She stayed there for 5 weeks and relearned how to do everyday, basic things.
Virginia says she’ll never be able to go back to the way things were. Unable to return to her job as an ER nurse at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Virginia now concentrates her efforts on being a more active member of her religious parish. She gives talks to parishioners, explaining how her very continued existence is a personal miracle from God.
Despite not knowing exactly what happened, she sees this as her opportunity to get closer to Him.
“I do not remember the accident or hospitalization. In fact 2008 is pretty much gone. Looking forward, I am still discerning how to best serve God. I am grateful that I have been given another opportunity to figure out God’s plan for Ginny Murolo.”
Although the driver of the truck was later apprehended, no word on whether or not charges will be pressed.