HAMMONTON, N.J. (CBS) — An Atlantic City girl who was the sole survivor of a crash that killed her three siblings along the Atlantic City Expressway is speaking exclusively with Eyewitness News.
On Tuesday, the 12-year-old girl was walking around without any major injuries. She says a man helped save her life but she wishes she was able to help her siblings.
“I was just scared and scared for everyone in the car,” Michelle Khiev said.
With just a small scratch by her left eye and some bruises on her head, 12-year-old Michelle Khiev remembers the heart-pounding moments she narrowly escaped a car that crashed into a toll booth and caught fire along the Atlantic City Expressway Sunday night.
“It was on fire and I just opened the door and got out,” she said. “I was just worried for my other sister because I looked to my left to where my sister was sitting and the fire was blocking it.”
After Michelle was out of the car and away from the fire, she says she turned around and began to walk towards the flames, hoping to pull her sister to safety.
But she says Wil Del Valle, a pastor who was driving towards the toll booth at the time, got out of his car, saw her and yelled for her to get away from the burning vehicle. She listened and ran towards him before the car eventually exploded.
“I’d really like to thank you for helping that one day because I really was so close to just going back in to see my sister,” Michelle said.
Her father, Sakhet Khiev, calls his daughter’s survival a miracle.
“She is so lucky. She is so lucky,” Khiev said.
But the incident took three of his children’s lives — 31-year-old Tonny Khiev on the left, 27-year-old Johnny, and his 14-year-old daughter Keo.
“My wife cry every day,” he said.
Still, the family is grateful for the support given for funeral costs on their GoFundMe page.
“It’s very appreciated for my family and everyone who passed,” Michelle said.
On Tuesday, the toll booth where the crash happened remained closed for repairs. State police are investigating the cause of the crash.
Keo was a freshman at Atlantic City High School. Her principal, Dr. La’Quetta Small, wrote in a statement: “She was a vibrant young lady who embraced her school community as a member of JROTC and student council. She was loved by her peers and developed a great rapport with many teachers. She will be deeply missed.”