A Washington State family's spring break road trip turned into a nightmare encounter with an avalanche on Wednesday.
As Randall Kent Parker, his wife Roxanne and their two young daughters were driving down Interstate 90 near Seattle, a wall of snow and ice slammed into their SUV with such force that it crushed their vehicle and nearly pushed them off the edge of the road.
The Parkers, who live in Pasco, Wash., said it felt as if dynamite had exploded inside their car. Amazingly, all survived with just minor injuries, and today they say they're lucky to be alive.
"We were just a couple hours from home, driving over the mountains. The next thing I know, our world had changed forever," said Kent, who was behind the wheel.
The vehicle was surrounded by three to four feet of heavy snow and ice, pushing the car sideways and through a concrete retaining wall.
The impact shattered the windshield, crumpled the roof and caused the air bags to deploy. So much snow entered the vehicle that it filled the car's seats and pushed snow and glass into the riders' mouths.
"I heard my wife. It wasn't a scream, but it was just a yell as everything caved in," Kent Parker said.
The couple's two young daughters, ages three and seven, were sitting in the backseat when the avalanche struck. The children were buried by the snow, and their father rushed to dig them out. Miraculously, both were unharmed.
While the accident happened on a remote mountain road, it didn't take long for help to arrive. The Washington State Patrol was on the scene within minutes, rescuing Roxanna Parker, who was bleeding in the front seat. Roxanna is now recovering at home; incredibly, she only had minor injuries, including a sore chest.
"We just cheated death. We had to be close to dying, my whole family, and we cheated," Parker said.