A local woman is calling Steele Canyon High School Assistant Principal Paul Battle her guardian angel.
Natali Kestenian told NBC 7 Battle saved her life after a violent rollover crash.
Kestenian was driving home on Interstate 8 near Tavern Road on December 16 when another car cut her off. She lost control of her Toyota Camry, and it rolled down an embankment. The force threw Kestenian from the vehicle, and her broken body lay on the road vulnerable to on-coming traffic.
Kestenian said she does not know how she was ejected. According to her and a police report, she was wearing her seatbelt.
“All I remember is [Battle] holding me and holding my head tight onto his, and just holding me down saying everything is going to be alright,” said Kestenian.
She later learned Battle had seen her car flip and her body thrown from the vehicle. He immediately started swerving his car to get traffic to slow down. She said he got out of his vehicle, putting himself in danger, and held her head and hand until help arrived.
“He almost lost me for a second because I was passing out. Shivering, he shook my body and said no no no don’t go anywhere, stay with him,” Kestenian remembered.
Battle only let her hand go when the ambulance helicopter flew her to the hospital.
She told NBC 7 Battle then drove to multiple hospitals looking for her and to check if she survived the accident.
Kestenian suffered a fractured skull and two broken discs in her back. She was nearly paralyzed. However, she has remained positive and grateful thanks to Battle.
Eventually, the Steele Canyon High School assistant principal found her and visited her in the hospital with his family.
“He is my guardian angel,” Kestenian said.