By Steve Patterson

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa., (CBS) — “I was just terrified. I thought I was going to be dead.”

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When 78-year-old Nahlin Duka felt the first impact she knew she and her daughter were in trouble.

“I really thought after the third banging – this was it.”

By the fourth she began praying for a quick death.

“I thought… as long as God just takes me and I don’t have to lay in bed suffering, I’m fine with it.”

But Duka and her daughter 55-year-old Cathernia Moening are survivors.

At about 2:30 p.m. Monday police say Moening was driving south on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Suddenly at mile marker 25, police say their car struck by a merging UPS truck, sending them flying under the belly of the 18-wheeler.

Duka says one of the wheels was inches from killing her daughter.

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“About that far from her. If I could have reached, I could have touched the tire. It was through the door.”

After their rescue, police told Nahlin and her daughter one thing may have saved them. It’s something so important to her that Nahlin had it framed. Her prized possession a Mazda Miata. Low enough to the ground to avoid death.

“They said ‘I have to tell you something, it’s going to be hard for you to believe but that Miata saved your life.”

It took crews about two hours to free Duka’s daughter from that crash.

She remains in the hospital and is expected to fully recover.

“This brings it home.”

And at 78-years-old Nahlin says she’s got a new lease on life.

“There’s a reason. So I have to try, whatever I can do to help people.”

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She says she wanted to start by sharing her story.