Lifestyle & Human Interest

SUV Crashes Into Van, Lands in Unbelievable Spot: 'I Was Hysterical'


Christine Haught and her husband were waiting to pick up their dinner order from Golden Chopsticks in Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania, March 4 when they were nearly killed.

As they sat in their van outside the restaurant, waiting, they played a game on their phone and wondered when the food would be ready. It was just before 6 p.m. when Haught, 51, heard a strange sound.

The sound of squealing tires split the air. Immediately following, the back of their van was hit and the entire vehicle was shoved against the restaurant.

Miraculously, Haught was able to get out of the mangled car with “not even a scratch,” but she saw flames leaping up from their totaled car.

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“All I can remember is seeing flames from his side of the van,” she said, according to PennLive. “I was hysterical. I screamed. I had to get him out. I tried to help him out but he kept saying to go.”

She ran into the restaurant and told everyone to get out because there was a fire. Thankfully, a woman ran out armed with a fire extinguisher and doused the flames on the burning van.

“She’s my guardian angel,” Haught said. “She put out the fire.”

Haught was fine, but her 47-year-old husband, already suffering from a previous disability, was critically injured. He was rushed to Geisinger Medical Center with a broken back, broken shoulder blade and broken ribs as well as a brain bleed.

On Wednesday, he was moved to rehab and is expected to recover.

As for the woman who ran into them, she left a trail of destruction in her wake that culminated in the wreck at the restaurant and ended with her SUV perched on the roof of the restaurant.

The driver was later identified as 43-year-old Theresa Risso of Selinsgrove. Shamokin Dam Police Chief Tim Bremigen also later confirmed that alcohol was involved at a high level, though he would not give specifics beyond that.

Shortly before she plowed into the back of the van, reports of a reckless driver had started to come in. According to The Daily Item, Officer Eric Hassenplug was investigating and began to see the path she’d left behind her, a quarter of a mile along the southbound lanes of Routes 11 – 15 littered with telltale debris.

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Risso had struck at least two other cars, hit a pole, smashed into a concrete barrier and even lost a tire before coming to a stop. She hit Haught’s van so hard that the engine flew out of her own car and the body of her car flipped up onto the roof of the restaurant.

In the car along with Risso was her 1-year-old daughter. Thankfully Risso had managed to secure her baby properly in her car seat before taking off on her rampage. Despite all the havoc she caused that evening, her daughter was uninjured, according to Bremigen.

Risso herself was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but was discharged Tuesday. Criminal charges are expected but have not yet been filed.

Other people were also reported injured, but are doing well. The restaurant has been condemned after suffering catastrophic damage.

Fundraisers are being held for Haught, who currently has no means of transportation and works two jobs. Her husband is unable to work due to his prior disability.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking