Fort Worth survivor of South by Southwest crash describes terror

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by LAUREN ZAKALIK

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaalauren

WFAA

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 10:30 PM

FORT WORTH -- "I try to stay strong," said 18-year-old Erica Hall.

But the tears running down her face as she said it reveal just how hard that is to do.

"It was crazy. I just woke up and everyone was everywhere, in my face, 'Are you okay? Are you okay?'" she recalled.

The Trimble Tech senior is home in Fort Worth now after what can only be described as a harrowing experience.

She tells News 8 she saw people getting CPR, "blood everywhere, bodies."

She was one of 25 injured Thursday when a suspected drunk driver plowed through a crowd of people at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin. Two of those people died.

And two of the three friends Erica went to the festival with, 18-year-old Curtisha "Tish" Davis and her boyfriend, 19-year-old De'Andre "Dre" Tatum, remain hospitalized.

Tatum is in critical condition in the ICU, according to hospital staff. A spokeswoman at University Hospital Brackenridge in Austin said Davis is in good condition.

The last thing Erica remembers was walking down the street with her friends, having fun.

"I just remember waking up and everyone was in my face," she said.

The fourth member of their group, Elijah Pruitt, was a few blocks away when the accident happened.

"There were bodies all over the ground -- like, it was crazy," he told News 8.

Pruitt said he had no clue his friends were involved until a tearful call from Dre's mother. Pruitt then went to the hospital and found his friend unresponsive. He got to visit with him once.

"I told him, hang in there. That’s all I can tell him," he said. "Hopefully he heard me."

Erica Hall has a minor concussion and is limping, likely from getting hit by the car on her left side. It's a constant, painful reminder of what happened on her spring break.

"I just try to block it out and try to stay strong for my friends," she said. "That’s really all I can do."

There is a vigil Sunday at 7 p.m. on the front steps of Trimble Tech to pray for those hurt in the tragedy.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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