Photo of Nashville couple reuniting after crash goes viral

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A photo of a couple reuniting in the hospital after a terrible crash on New Year’s Day has gone viral.

The photo has been shared more than 89,000 times, but the couple told News 2 it was never about the picture, but the story behind it.

“We shouldn’t survive that wreck,” crash survivor Hunter Hanks said.

More than a week after the accident, it’s still hard for the Lipscomb baseball player to put it all into words.

“It’s still pretty tough to talk about,” Hanks said. “I feel I put her life in danger; I didn’t do my job of protecting her.”

He and his girlfriend, Arika Stovall, a Lipscomb senior graphic design major, were involved in a wreck on Interstate 24 in Murfreesboro New Year’s night.

They were on their way to Nashville from Florida at the time.

“I don’t remember exactly what happened, police said it looks like I could have fallen asleep, but I don’t remember being sleepy,” Hanks said.

Courtesy: Hunter Hanks and Arika Stovall
The accident happened on I-24 in Murfreesboro on New Year’s night. (Courtesy: Hunter Hanks)

Authorities believe Hanks was going around 80 mph when he hit a bridge support pillar.

“It kind of ripped the truck in half and shot us in the top of that bridge area, and we spun around up there and came back and landed head-on with the fifth pillar,” Hanks recalled.

He suffered injuries to his face and a lacerated liver.

Stovall received injuries to her knee and ankle.

They now call themselves a modern day miracle.

“That’s why it’s also gotten as big as it has because everyone sees this modern day miracle and it gives hope to people in rough situations,” Hanks said.

The photo that has taken the social media world by the storm shows the couple being reunited in the hospital after the accident.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

“When we saw each other at the hospital it was just a moment of you can relax, we knew [the other] was okay,” Hanks said.

The couple said they only posted the photo to let family and friends know how they were doing; they said they never intended or expected it to go viral.”

“We never wanted publicity or anything for that; we just wanted to share how God worked,” Stovall said. “What I wanted out was the story of survival and the way God had his hand on it all.”

“We did not expect it to blow up like it did,” Hanks said.

The couple said it was not about the photo at all, but about a story of survival.

“The paramedics, the cops, the tow truck driver, they say they’ve seen enough wrecks
that we shouldn’t survived it,” Hanks said.

Hunter’s Bible was found right next to the bridge by his mangled truck, with a page turned down at the corner.

“That was a brand new Bible, it was never touched, and it was marked on a page that said, ‘I’m not finished. I’ll be there with you,’” Hanks said.

The couple is still recovering from their injuries, but was back for the first day of classes at Lipscomb.

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