MT. PLEASANT, Pa. (KDKA) – State police are still looking into a violent crash along the Turnpike East in Westmoreland County. Initially, the driver of the SUV involved was nowhere to be found until rescuers looked up.
The crash scene Wednesday was littered with busted and broken debris from the SUV that flew off of the Turnpike. While the parts are bent and broken, somehow the driver wasn’t.
“We’ve seen crashes with ejections, we’ve seen crashes where we’ve torn a car apart to get them out. But this one here was completely different,” said Mt. Plesant Fire Chief Jerry Lucia.
It started when the driver’s vehicle left the Turnpike eastbound around mile maker 82.5. The destroyed SUV landed at the bottom of the hill, but the driver never hit the ground.
“He was caught between two branches and he was holding on to them,” said Lucia.
The victim shot out of the car and into the trees.
“The windshield wasn’t broken so he had to come out the back,” Lucia said.
Pictures from a KDKA viewer show the difficult technical rescue operation.
“Every piece of equipment we had for extraction we had off the truck,” said Lucia.
In one shot, you can see the victim in a white t-shirt dazed but alive.
Lucia said the man had a cut on his forehead and complained about back pain.
“Someone who would be flying and impacts a tree, you’d think that he’d be very seriously injured,” said Lucia.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The source of the driver’s good fortune is anybody’s guess.
“Most of the ejections don’t end well,” said Lucia, adding, “God was with him.”
The driver’s name and condition are not being released. He’s got some bumps and bruises and a lot of luck.