This story was originally published in Newsday on Feb. 10, 2008.
Rakiya Phillips awoke yesterday morning when a sedan crashed through her bedroom ceiling and stopped just over her head - the car's wheels still spinning.
Phillips, 27, of North Amityville, screamed out for her mom in the early morning darkness.
"I started smelling the oil and the gas, and I thought the car was going to blow up," she said.
Phillips was covered in dirt and shrubbery in her basement apartment. A water pipe had burst and water flooded the room, and large chunks of concrete lay all around.
Her mother, Sharon Phillips, 59, and her sister, Yvette Phillips, 21, worked to pull Rakiya from the debris, feeling like they couldn't get to her fast enough.
"I was rushing to get her out because I didn't know if that car was just going to take a nosedive," Sharon Phillips said.
As the effort to rescue Rakiya Phillips was under way, the driver, a man, tried to free himself, too, witnesses said.
Landlord Abbott Mohan, 76, who awoke to the sound of the crash, said he got close enough to the driver to notice that he reeked of alcohol.
The driver mumbled only something about losing control of his car, Sharon Phillips said.
She said the driver freed himself after a few minutes and walked down Carrol Street.
"This jerk didn't even ask, 'Did anybody get hurt? Is everybody O.K.?' He just kept walking," she said. "Like it was nothing."
Sharon Phillips said she regretted that she didn't stop the driver. "What was I supposed to do? Go tackle him or go tend to my daughter?"
A witness in a car followed the driver and saw him walk into a house on nearby Surrey Drive, Phillips said.
Rakiya Phillips was taken by ambulance to New Island Hospital in Bethpage, where doctors examined her and said she was fine except for a few scrapes and bruises.
State Department of Motor Vehicle records indicate the car is registered to a woman, Sakina Jones, 32, of Wyandanch. A man who answered the door at her home said he knew nothing about the accident and that Jones was out of town.
Police had made no arrests in the case as of last night.
Back in Amityville, Sharon Phillips recalled the sound of the crash, hours later.
"Now I know what people say when something happens and they say it sounds like a freight train," she said. "I know the feeling now - the sound."
Rakiya Phillips, a kindergarten teacher at Sea Cliff Elementary School, stood yesterday afternoon amid the debris in her room, including a large section of the car's bumper.
"I'm just happy to be alive," she said. "It's a miracle that I survived this."