Woman speaks about recovery from 60-foot fall from Loop 202 to avoid crash

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Stephanie Ameiss shared her story about her recovery from a 60-foot fall in Tempe. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Stephanie Ameiss shared her story about her recovery from a 60-foot fall in Tempe. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Ameiss and Chris Reynolds have developed a bond that has crossed into a friendship. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ameiss and Chris Reynolds have developed a bond that has crossed into a friendship. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Ameiss had head, shoulder, hands, wrists and knee injuries. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ameiss had head, shoulder, hands, wrists and knee injuries. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Back in August of 1999, then 24-year-old Stephanie Ameiss was preparing herself to become a police officer when life took an unexpected turn.  

"When I realized, 'I'm the only survivor from that spot,' I was angry, (asking herself) 'Why didn't someone fix that spot?'" said Ameiss on Thursday during an interview at her physical therapist's office.

Back in 1999, she had pulled over along the left side median along the Loop 202 to help someone with a disabled vehicle when suddenly a driver was coming toward her and she decided to jump off the freeway. 

"I jumped and fell about 60 feet into the rock bottom of what is now Tempe Town Lake," she adds. 

Ameiss had head, shoulder, hand, wrist and knee injuries. 

"My shoulder crushed and my elbow snapped in half," she said.

Four years after her devastating accident, Ameiss joined the police academy once again after being able to do push-ups. 

"She was not going to let anyone or any circumstance get in the way of that dream," says Chris Reynolds of Desert Hand Therapy in central Phoenix. 

Reynolds has been Ameiss' therapist from the very beginning. The two have developed a bond that has crossed into a friendship. Reynolds was at Ameiss' wedding. 

"Stephanie is definitely one in a million on so many different levels," he adds. 

She fulfilled her dream of becoming a police officer. She served for 15 years until she was forced to retire due to her injuries. 

"My life is not my life, this is God's plan," she adds. 

Ameiss made sure the center area along the 202 Freeway where she fell to the river bottom was retrofitted and had it covered so that no one else suffers the same fate she did. 

"No one can die after me. I can't let anyone else die after me," she said. 

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