ANDERSON, Ind. -- A woman survived a crash that drove a 12-foot metal rod through her mouth and out the back of her head and was still awake when emergency crews arrived, authorities said.
Alejandra Martinez, 28, of Anderson, was in critical condition late Monday, recovering from surgery at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Anderson police spokesman Terry Sollars said.
Martinez drove through a stop sign Monday morning at an intersection on the city's southwest side and hit another car, Sollars said. She then lost control of her Ford Taurus, careened off the road and went through a chain-link fence.
Her car then went through the yard and hit a concrete porch, shoving it three feet back, Sollars said.
Sollars said the officer who first arrived called and said it was a fatality because what he saw was "horrendous." The round top rail, about an inch and a half in diameter, had been driven through the driver's side of the windshield, he said.
Emergency crews sawed off part of the pole to about 8 to 10 inches in front of Martinez's face so they could get her out of the car, Sollars said.
Her back-seat passenger, Morena Guadalupe, 39, who lives with her, was not injured.
Anderson Fire Department Battalion Chief Larry Towne said he was shocked to find Martinez alive and awake.
"Talk about having an angel as a co-pilot," Fire Chief J.R. Rosencrans told The Herald Bulletin. "On her rearview mirror she had a picture of the Madonna. You can tell she is a religious person."
Towne said Martinez was in shock but calm.
"She never complained, whined, didn't hardly say anything. That helped to keep the air around the scene calm."
An emergency room doctor treated Martinez while fire crews tried to extricate her, police said.
Her daughter, Elizabeth Diaz Martinez, said she, her parents, brother and sister moved to Anderson, about 35 miles northeast of Indianapolis, more than two years ago from Mexico.