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Superior mom, son lucky to be alive

Dawn Hamilton and her son, Corey, of Superior nearly died Sunday night -- three times in the span of a minute.

The two were driving toward Duluth on Highway 53 near Twig when a deer jumped out in front of her car. She struck the deer, which went flying over the car, but that caused her to collide with a semitrailer riding next to her.

"The semi dragged us and we spun around five times," said Hamilton, 40.

Hamilton's Grand Am struck the semi's gas tank, causing fuel to spill all over the highway. By the time her car stopped spinning and was dislodged from the semi, her Grand Am was pointing north. Dazed, she and her 17-year-old son got out of their car and saw a car traveling full-speed toward them.

"At first I thought it was somebody who could help us," Hamilton said.

But because her car's headlights were knocked out, the oncoming car probably didn't see Hamilton and her son. They jumped into a ditch, and three seconds later they heard the car come to a stop about 4 feet from their car.

"He was trying to stop, but he couldn't because of the fuel oil," she said. "I could have laid down and touched both cars."

Incredibly, Hamilton and her son were able to walk away with only cuts and bruises, though her car is a mangled reminder of how close she came to severe injury.

Scott Goddard, the South Range truck driver involved in the accident, said he wasn't injured. He also said there was nothing that could have been done to prevent the crash.

Hamilton said she looks at the night as an opportunity to look at life as a gift.

"Last night to have three chances of dying, and we made it through," she said. "I just grabbed Corey and hugged him and said I don't care what we have broken. ... We're standing here and we're alive."