Dirt and helicopter fragments were embedded deep into Jordan Wells' body. Her cheekbone, nose, eye socket and shoulder blade were broken, and five disks along her spine were dislodged. Her legs were completely shattered, a bloody mangle of muscle, bone and skin.
"We just put our hands on her and prayed for her," Scott Wells said.
After several hours of surgery, Jordan Wells was transferred to the Baltimore Shock Trauma Center. For 10 days, doctors operated to put her back together. Heavily sedated, she was unaware of the desperate measures to save her legs.
When she woke up, the first thing she did was apologize to her father for crashing the car.
"And I'm like, I don't care about that car," Scott Wells said. "But it was just so good to hear her talk again."
The doctors fought to contain the infection in Jordan Wells' right leg, but it was a losing battle.
"I remember waking up in the morning in the hospital and seeing my pinkie toe was gone and then my next toe was gone," she said. "Every time I went into surgery they took a little piece off my foot. [And] my doctor told me how it was going to be if I kept it and it would be infected. And he told me the best thing to do is to amputate."
As her sedatives wore off, she not only confronted the fate of her leg but she also began asking about her friend Ashley Younger.
"The same day they told me they had to get my leg amputated, was the same day my dad told me that Ashley had died," she said.
Jordan Wells was the only survivor of the helicopter crash, and two months and 20 operations after the crash, she left the trauma center.
When she finally came home, it was "fantastic" for her parents.
"Her friends arranged a reception for her," Scott Wells said. "They were sitting in front of the house with a banner, screaming and yelling and videotaping and just welcoming her home."
Now home, Jordan Wells requires around-the-clock care. A parade of visitors and friends are always around, lending a hand ... and a laugh. But her recovery has been slow and painful; she is almost totally dependent on her parents.
"I think it's pretty tough because my mom has to stay by my side for everything," Jordan Wells said. "So she does like everything for me."
Three weeks ago, she attended a National Transportation Safety Board hearing in Washington investigating her crash and others involving medevac helicopters.
Preliminary findings suggest that the emergency chopper should have stayed on the ground that stormy night. Air traffic controllers, the report says, were "casual and sloppy," relaying a misleading weather report to the pilot that sent him straight into thick, blinding fog. For families of the dead, questions linger about why the girls were airlifted instead of sent by ambulance to the hospital. Questions, of course, that will never bring back Ashley Younger.
"Even now I think about her, I just see her smiling ... just always full of laughs and joy and she loved people," Stephanie Younger said. "We were always together, always. She was my best friend as well as my daughter. She just feels like a hole in my heart."
Scott Wells said, "Jordan told me not long ago, she said, losing Ashley hurts more than all the physical pain. And she cries sometimes uncontrollably over this, over the loss of her friend, Ashley."
Added Lynn Wells: "She says her heart hurts."