KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- A Kannapolis mother and son say they are lucky to have survived a horrific crash on Highway 29. They also said that they are even luckier to have reunited with their dog that was in the car with them.
"Good boy," Nicholas Familite says to his 5-month-old puppy Levi.
Nothing can get between Nicholas and his dog. He's had the dog since he was found malnourished at 11-weeks-old. However, in that time to two have managed to build a special connection.
"It's kind of amazing how we just bond," he said.
A bond put to the test Saturday night, when Levi, Nicholas and his mother Michele nearly lost their lives.
"We were just crusing down the road and a car came out in front of us," Nicholas said.
They were traveling on S. Cannon in Kannapolis when they accident occurred.
"I just slammed on the brakes and the next thing we know we're in a tumble," Michele recalled.
Their vehicle flipped three times, landing on the roof. Both Michele and Nicholas were strapped inside, but Nicholas' seatbelt came undone during the crash. Instead of focusing on his own safety, he was concerned about Levi.
"I held him the whole way and when we stopped we were upside down," he said. "I let go and I just seen him run out the back glass," Nicholas explained.
Crews had to use the jaws of life to extricate Michale from the car. She has seat belt burn across her chest and bruises along her side. Nicholas had scrapes along his arm, but refused medical treatment until he could search for Levi. After hours, family members convinced him to get checked out.
Both he and his mother managed to make it out of that crash without serious injuries.
"To walk away without even stitches, yes it's major soreness, major pain and hurt, but not not even stitches," Michele said in disbelief.
However, the family couldn't help but think of Levi. They didn't know where he was or if he was okay. Stephanie Collins, Michele's oldest daughter turned to Facebook to search for Levi.
"Everybody just started sharing it and sharing it," she said. Her post was shared thousands of times and the family received hundreds of calls and messages. Volunteers also assisted in search efforts. Eventually, Stephanie and a family friend located Levin not far from the scene of the accident, unharmed.
"Having so many people care about Levi and our families well being was amazing," said Collins.
Nicholas took in Levi just as he was saying goodbye to the dog he had nearly his entire life. He says he is grateful he is not facing that loss again.
"I was really happy, I was really glad he was okay," he said.
"After everything we went through, it just signifies that he's meant to be here and we all were," Michele declared.
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