TODAY   |  July 22, 2013

Woman survives plunge off Chesapeake Bay Bridge

After her car was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer Friday night, Morgan Lake, 22, was knocked over the edge of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge. She talks about her terrifying ordeal, saying, “I didn’t want to go out that way.” NBC’s Peter Alexander reports.

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>> survived a watery nightmare after her car plunged off the chesapeake bay bridge is telling her story. peter alexander is in maryland with more.

>> good morning. morgan lake is one very lucky young woman . this is one of the scariest bridges in all of america. so bad that for years police would offer to take drivers across the bridge if they were too afraid to do it themselves. her survival story began friday night when a tractor trailer slammed into her car from behind.

>> it was a huge truck. all i saw was the nose of it coming full speed to me. so i thought i was going to die.

>> the force of the crash being rear ended by a tractor trailer friday night was enough to push her car off maryland's chesapeake bay bridge . the 22-year-old was buckled in. still, the drop was 40 feet.

>> i saw the sky slow, i saw land slow. i saw water and as soon as i saw water i just clenched and my eyes shut and i just knew that i was going to die. i was going down.

>> the impact with the water morgan says felt like hitting concrete. the car was quickly submerged.

>> i felt like i was drowning. i felt like my body was getting full of water. and i didn't want to go out that way.

>> you didn't want to go out that way?

>> i didn't want to go out that way, no.

>> her escape route, the driver's side window, the glass shattered by the crash.

>> i swam and swam and swam and took five deep breaths and gasped for air.

>> morgan , a financtness instructor swam to one of the bridge's pilings.

>> i'm looking at everyone on the bridge and i'm yelling someone call my mom. someone please just call my mom and a civilian did.

>> her only injuries a sprained ankle and elbow and bad cuts from the shattered glass . over the weekend, crews recovered her car from the bottom of the bay.

>> are you going to drive that bridge again.

>> one day.

>> no time soon?

>> no, no time soon.

>> it really is quite a story. no charges have been filed. the investigation is still on going but it could have ended very differently. she fell 40 feet. at it's highest point, the chesapeake bay bridge is more than 180 feet above the bay below.

>> peter, that is unimaginable. what a story. thank you for bringing it to us.