PETERSBURG, N.D. - A University of North Dakota sophomore is thanking her lucky stars after surviving a crash with a bull elk.

Mattisyn Barendt was on her way home from a Thanksgiving gathering on Highway 2 when she said the elk came out so fast, she had almost no time to react.

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The impact ripped open the front of her car, shattering the windshield and mangling what's underneath the hood.

Barendt not only survived, she sustained only scratches and bruises. Ten minutes later, a couple stopped and let her warm up in their pickup while she waited for police to arrive.

"I barely had time to stop and then I just remember opening my eyes and seeing my airbags all up in my car and glass shattered everywhere," Barendt said.

"I'm very grateful and thankful that I'm here right now," she added. "I think I had a guardian angel with me that night."

She said her dad kept the elk's head so he can mount it later. They gave its meat to families in the area.