Teen survives crash that killed best friend by clinging to tree overnight

A teenage girl survived a car crash that killed her best friend after she swam to safety and spent the night in a tree.

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Jenna Santos and Natalie Griffin were driving back home to Castro Valley in early January after a road trip. According to KGO, their car veered off the highway and landed in a creek, where the car quickly began to sink.

“They were upside down and her friend was stuck and she tried to get out but couldn’t so she got out and survived, but her friend didn’t,” said Castro Valley High School student Kristina Galvin.

Santos escaped through the broken back window.

"She started to panic and told herself to calm down. That's when she noticed a broken window in the back and showed Jenna. She told her to follow her," Griffin's cousin, Monica Keyser, told the East Bay Times. "When she surfaced, she wasn't sure if she had made it out."

Griffin, who is a runner and practices yoga, swam to some nearby trees and hoisted herself up. She made a shelter with her jacket to protect herself from wind and rain. The newspaper also reports she did stretches to keep warm through the night.

“She was hallucinating and hearing Jenna talking, telling her she was going to be OK. There were points where she thought Jenna was with her. She remembers thinking they found a phone,” Keyser said.

In the morning, Griffin swam across the creek, climbed a large hill covered in thorny shrubbery and flagged down a driver from the road.

First responders discovered that Santos never made it out of the car.

Griffin was taken to a nearby hospital and was treated for hypothermia and minor scrapes. She has since been released.

Loved ones set up a GoFundMe page in honor of Santos. If you would like to donate, click here.