updated 04/28/2010 AT 11:25 AM ET
•originally published 04/28/2010 AT 12:00 PM ET
Reversing a long-held position about remaining quiet about the fateful incident, Laura Bush is now discussing the November 1963 car crash in Midland, Texas, that killed a high school friend – which she says has haunted her for her entire life, according to the former first lady’s soon-to-be published memoir, Spoken from the Heart.
According to the book, a copy of which has been obtained by The New York Times, 17-year-old Laura Welch (Bush’s maiden name) was driving her father’s Chevrolet Impala with a girlfriend as passenger, rushing to a drive-in movie when she ran a stop sign and hit the car being driven by her school’s star athlete, Mike Douglas.
“In those awful seconds, the car door must have been flung open by the impact and my body rose in the air until gravity took over and I was pulled, hard and fast, back to earth,” she writes, according to The Times. Later, she says, “I was praying that the person in the other car was alive. In my mind, I was calling ‘Please, God. Please, God. Please, God,’ over and over and over again.”