Video of a car falling five stories and then crashing into the ground makes it clear just how lucky the driver was to survive, and the dramatic footage hints at how the car may have helped protect her.

Austin, Texas, police Thursday released the video of Christi Bowmer's 2014 BMW 428i hardtop convertible plunging nose first, hitting the ground, clipping an SUV, and coming to rest upside down.

“Despite the unique circumstances of this crash, this driver likely benefited from years of automakers optimizing the cabin for frontal crash protection,” says Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports Auto Test Center. “This event just happened to be in a vertical direction, instead of horizontal.

“The way she landed is really the extreme test of the frontal crash. It’s rare that you have a crash that’s dead-on front,” Stockburger says. “This crash speaks to how robust vehicles are now, in terms of occupant protection."

BMW's website says the model comes with standard front and side airbags, which are meant to protect a driver’s head in frontal and other crashes. The car did not have automatic emergency braking (AEB), and it’s unclear if that safety feature would have prevented the car from driving off the side of a parking deck.

Bowmer, 49, of Cedar Park, Texas, survived the crash with some injuries, according to reports. She may have mistakenly hit the accelerator, according to the police report. Her car crashed through some wire barriers and fell five stories, the police report said. (Consumer Reports has not tested this model of BMW.)





Hitting the wrong pedal in a car is a common occurrence, according to a 2015 warning from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Each year, approximately 16,000 preventable crashes occur due to pedal error when drivers mistake the accelerator for the brake,” NHTSA said in the safety advisory.

Bowmer also may have benefited in some small way from her convertible coming into contact with the SUV below, CR's Stockburger says, which might have reduced the force on the convertible’s roof when it finally came to rest upside down.

Correction: A previous version of this story said Bowmer told police she may have mistakenly hit the accelerator. The police report states only that she may have hit the accelerator but does not attribute that to Bowmer.