HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Family, friends, and loved ones gathered together today to celebrate the life of 17-year-old Sarah Harmening. She was laid to rest today at Mt. Zion Cemetery.
As the Fulton County Police Department continues its investigation into the fatal bus crash that claimed her life, a survivor on board the bus at the time of the collision is now speaking out.
Steven Underwood has been a member of Mt. Zion`s youth group for nearly 5 years. He was excited for the planned mission trip to Botswana.
Then, in a matter of seconds, his life and everyone else's on the bus changed forever. "It felt like a movie, it didn't feel real," he recalled.
Steven is now counting his blessings.
“This is all from the concrete from where I skid," he explained. "Of course I had a deep gash right across there."
Only a few scrapes and cuts line his arms, but memories of the crash, that claimed the life of one of his friends, will likely be a permanent scar.
“First thing I remember hearing is a tire squealing sound and I see the front of our bus go up, I see grass and then I see the sky from the front because we caught a little bit of air," said Underwood.
Steven said, what happened next, was like a slow-motion nightmare.
“I remember going up in the air and I hit my head on the roof and I came back down. I’m not exactly sure how many times we flipped but I remember the armrest catching me and one of the rolls, I actually go out the window," he said.
Underwood said the window he was ejected out of, had already shattered.
“And I skid across the concrete and my back hits the guardrail and as I see the bus continue to flip towards me, and I see the bus continue to flip towards me, and it stops maybe 4,5,6 feet from me," said Underwood.
Steven was able to quickly call his parents, and then joined other youth members helping each other out of the bus.
"Nobody was panicking. Those that could help went back into the bus and helped the ones needing help getting out," he said.
Steven says, looking at the mangled metal, it's remarkable so many survived, but mourns the fact it wasn't everybody.
“She was really something special," said Underwood.
He says, Sarah Harmening was a woman of few words, but when she spoke, she made them count.
“Everything she said was an inspiration, and everything she said was for God," he said.
Even in her final moments, he said, she was doing the Lord's work.
“Sarah was journaling and studying her Bible as we were going, and that just shows how strong she was with God,” said the 18-year-old crash survivor.
Now, though Sarah has been laid to rest, Steven feels called to continue her witness and says just the chance to do so, is a blessing he won't soon forget.
"It’s given me more faith, it’s given me more inspiration to read my Bible more, and just be around other Christians and just stay strong with them," he explained.
Steven tells WHNT News 19, the church hasn't made any mention whether or not they'll eventually complete the planned Botswana mission trip.
He said regardless of what Mt. Zion decides to do, he and a few of his friends want to eventually travel there and complete the work Sarah never got the chance to do.
To continue to honor Sarah's legacy, Mt. Zion's youth group will have a special gathering of the "Greenhouse" from 6:15 - 7:30 p.m. at the church. Underwood said he would like to see a large crowd attend.