GREENSBURG — A Rushville man had extra reason to give thanks this Thanksgiving after crashing his semi-rig on Wednesday at the exit ramp into Greensburg along Eastbound I-74 near Staples.
Decatur County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Snyder told the Daily News on-scene that Elmer McDonald, 58, was cut-off exiting I-74 when a white truck entering I-74 East whipped in front of him. McDonald was forced to slam the brakes and swerve hard to avoid a collision. He subsequently lost control, sliding off the freeway ramp and sending the vehicle tumbling onto its driver’s side into an open, field-like area between Staples and I-74. The driver of the white truck wasn’t located.
Snyder took his account of the accident from the lone eye-witness on scene; remarkably, that witness was none other than McDonald himself, who was trapped inside the vehicle when he gave Snyder his statement.
The Daily News arrived on scene as members of the Greensburg Fire Department (GFD) were working to extricate McDonald from the vehicle, who became trapped in the course of the accident when his leg became wedged between the crushed driver’s-side door and the steering column.
The GFD ultimately used the Jaws of Life to free McDonald, an operation that lasted about 20 minutes, according to Snyder. After being extracted, McDonald not only stood, but also walked to a waiting ambulance on his own power, complaining only of back pain, Snyder said.
The deputy further explained that although the driver’s-side door was crushed and McDonald’s leg trapped, the vehicular damage apparently wasn’t severe enough to cause significant injury. McDonald likely also benefitted from providence, with his leg coming to rest at an angle that shielded him from significant injury.
“He was extremely lucky,” Snyder said.
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