Recently, Indiana emergency responders spent two hours freeing a man trapped inside his wrecked car while near a ravine. Fortunately, the man survived.
The incident began when the 47-year-old driver was traveling along Old Indiana 25 near Tippecanoe County Road 500 North. He was moving southbound when his car partially ran off the side of the road. The driver then overcorrected by shifting his car too far to the left, then veered right. As a result, witnesses say that his car tumbled down the side of the road, smashing into trees, before rolling to a stop and wrapping around a tree.
Witnesses believe that the man was still alive after the crash due to the slow "cartwheel" his car did down the side. Once he was spotted, a local couple climbed down to the ravine, where they found the driver alert and coherent, but physically trapped. Only his head was visible due to the car's position near the tree. Although the driver had a cut above his eye, he did not appear in serious danger of losing blood. The couple stayed with the driver and did their best to keep him calm until an emergency crew from the Buck Creek Volunteer Fire Department came. Emergency crew members could not tell which part of the car was the front end or back end, and needed to contact the fire departments in Lafayette and Battle Ground for assistance.
Together, the emergency responders crafted a plan to extract the man from his car without dislodging it. They started by using small tools to cut through the car exterior, before shifting to large hydraulic tools. The responders also used two tow trucks to keep the car stabilized. Finally the car was stabilized to the point where the car's sun roof — which was right on the driver's stomach — could be cut out and the driver could crawl away. The driver was then taken by helicopter to St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, where he was diagnosed with a broken femur and lacerations to the face. One emergency crew member noted that it was extremely unusual not only for the driver of a car wrapped around a tree to be alive, but also to be alert and talking.
Officials at the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office believe that alcohol use played a factor in the accident due to the scent on the driver's clothing, and are awaiting toxicology results.
Overall, it is extremely fortunate that no lives were lost — not only the driver's, but also any other drivers or passengers potentially on the scene. Accidents caused by driving while intoxicated are far too common across the country. Those who are injured, or lose loved ones in a drunk driving accident that was not their fault have the option of filing a lawsuit against the other driver. The injured party might even have a claim against the restaurant or bar that sold the driver alcohol if it could be proven that did so even after the driver was noticeably intoxicated. If you live in Indiana and have been in a drunk driving accident, contact an Indiana car accident attorney to learn your options.
Miller & Falkner is a plaintiffs' law firm serving residents of Kentucky and Indiana. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the firm provides representation in the areas of personal injury and employment law. Contact us today for a free consultation.