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Cal Poly staffer returns to campus after a car crash nearly killed her last year

Posted at 7:12 AM, Sep 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-20 12:27:41-04

Cal Poly campus comes alive as students clamor in for the first days of fall classes, but it's not just students stepping onto campus for the first time.

At a slower pace, Lilianne Tang, a staff member in Cal Poly's multicultural department, is making her way onto school grounds for the first time since she nearly died in a November crash.

"I was crossing the street on Johnson and Monterey," Tang recalled. "I almost made it across the street, but before I could, I just hear a car speeding toward me."

Seconds later, Tang was pulled under the vehicle. Her limbs were crushed under the weight of the tires and she was trapped.

"I was essentially begging for the car to be taken off of me," Tang said.

An off-duty firefighter and nearby witnesses helped lift and hold the car to free Tang, who was then airlifted to Fresno for emergency lifesaving surgeries.

The man accused of hitting Tang, identified as Christopher Boyle, has been charged with driving under the influence.

Tang broke multiple bones in her legs, shattered her pelvis, cracked eight ribs, and suffered a fracture in her arm.

Miraculously, Tang survived but the journey to recovery would be long.

Tang's sister, Alexis Chang, stepped in to help.

"I took off school and got an incomplete for my classes," Chang said.

Chang, enrolled in her senior year of college, had to put school on hold to help her sister.

"I'm happy to see her back doing what she loves," Chang said.

Chang also started a GoFundMe account for her sister, which has since raised over $27,000.

After doubling down on classes her Spring semester, Chang was finally able to graduate. Now it's her older sister's turn to return to school.

"I was only two months in then my accident happened and I just was really looking forward to the year," Tang said.

As she settled back in Thursday at her desk at Cal Poly's Multicultural Center, Tang felt grateful not only to be making strides in recovery but for the strangers who saved her life.

"I don't know if I would've made it if not for them," Tang said.

And she's amazed by the love she's received from her fellow mustangs.

"The messages and love and support I got from the Cal Poly community, it was incredible," Tang said.