Witness gives account of traffic collision on Decatur St.

Published: Jan. 3, 2013 at 3:27 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2013 at 3:33 AM CST
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Image of the accident scene, posted on Facebook.
Image of the accident scene, posted on Facebook.

New Orleans, La. -- Brett Matherne says witnessing an accident involving his friend, Amanda Piglia, is now a nightmare that won't go away.

They spent New Year's Eve celebrating in the French Quarter.  But just before heading home, something terrible happened as they crossed Decatur Street near Jax Brewery.

"There were two cars at the red light. As we crossed the street, the light turned green so we stopped before a car passed us, and I hear brakes locking up," says Matherne.

Matherne says the car clipped him in the leg, but Piglia, he says, was hit so hard that she went flying into the air.

"She looked like a rag doll. She got flung so far down the street to where the other car had no chance of reacting to it. He swerved -- I know he swerved as much as he could," says Matherne.

He says Piglia was thrown into oncoming traffic on the other side of the street and another car rolled over her.  "Immediately he got out the car and he was scared. He was apologizing," says Matherne.

Matherne says he has no idea what happened to the first driver.  "No one saw this other person. With all those people there, no one has said anything about seeing another person being talked to by cops. They saw that guy. Everyone saw the guy," says Matherne.

According to the NOPD, the police report remains unavailable at this point.

A passerby snapped a photo of the scene and put it on Facebook. In the corner of the picture, you can see Matherne still on the ground and Piglia was knocked out under a car.

"At first, it didn't look like she was breathing. I'm guessing she got the wind knocked out of her. People started crowding around us. Everyone was panicking. It was probably the worst thing I've ever had to witness," says Matherne.

Piglia was rushed to University Hospital and put in a medically-induced coma.  Her mother and father say she's improving.

"She's talking more. She's asking more questions and she's in a lot of pain," says Theresa Piglia

Piglia has a long recovery ahead of her and may end up in a wheelchair for a while.

"The only information we're getting is from the friends that were there and from Facebook. Facebook has given us more information than anybody else. The police have yet to contact us. They have never talked to us. As far as I know they haven't talked to Brett Matherne either," says Piglia.

While they say it would be great to get some concrete answers, their biggest concern at this point is their daughter's recovery.