A Huntsville woman who nearly died more than a decade ago trying to save a stranger's life died in a tragic crash. Joy Vaughn's family is now grieving her death after she was killed while sleeping in her sister's south Huntsville home.
Police said a truck Antony Wu was driving barreled into the house late Saturday night, and Wu may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Joy's sister shared with us their last conversation just hours before the accident.
"I tucked her in. I gave her a kiss. I said, 'I love you. I'll see you in the morning,' and she said, 'Thank you and I love you too,'" said Jessica Vaughn.
She said it sounded like an earthquake around 11:30 Saturday night when Antony Wu drove into the back side of her home. The crash burst water pipes, set off the smoke detectors and spread debris and glass everywhere.
"It felt like I was still sleeping and in a really bad dream, but it wasn't and it just kept going and it's still going," she said.
Jessica said she was trying to get to her sister Joy who was pushed through two rooms when the truck went barreling into her bed.
"All I could see was clouds of smoke and the wall was everywhere. The wall was in pieces and then I saw the car in my sister's bedroom where my sister had been sleeping, I kept telling him, 'You hit my sister, you hit my sister,' and he just looked at me like I was nothing," she said.
48-year-old Joy escaped death about two decades ago when she nearly drowned in Costa Rica spending about seven minutes underwater. After more than a month in a coma, she started to relearn motor skills.
"She relearned how to walk, how to talk, how to eat, how to move one arm then the other and then both at the same time," Jessica said.
Vaughn explained her family provided around the clock care to her older sister, following that accident. Joy only ever had about a 10 minute memory span after that accident.
"Her initial accident left her with a brain injury. We were close before but because of her circumstances, we had to stay close no matter what," she said.
Vaughn said now she's left holding on closely to their final weekend together.
"I've been taking care of her since I was 14. I don't know what I'm going to do without her. I don't see her everyday, but when I do it may be a low-key day everyday I have her, but those are the days that I have my Joy," Jessica said.
Antony Wu is charged with manslaughter. Jessica says police had to physically drag him out of the car when they arrested him.
Jessica Vaughn is an employee at WAAY 31.