Witness Captures Dramatic Video of Semi Crash and Motorists Rushing To Driver's Rescueby Jana Ritter - Published: 7/05/2017
Once again a group of passing motorists turned into highways heroes rushing to the rescue of a truck driver trapped in his cab after a near fatal accident. The group of strangers quickly worked together to give aide to the unconscious driver and block passing traffic until emergency responders arrived on the scene and took over. One of the men also happened to capture the crash and rescue as it happened. (Watch the cell phone video here on 6ABC Action News.)
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The incident occurred at around noon on Tuesday as the truck driver was traveling northbound on I-476 near Exit 9 in Marple Township, Pennsylvania. Victor Alarcon happened to be traveling behind the semi in a passenger vehicle (with his father and one other passenger) when he noticed the truck swerving from lane to lane. He immediately knew something was wrong and his instinct told him to grab his cell phone and start recording. "I said, 'Hold on. I think something is going on here.' Either he is playing around with an 18 wheeler, seems to be crazy to be playing around, or he is falling asleep at the wheel," Alarcon told ABC Action News.
Sure enough, about a minute and a half into recording, Alarcon’s cell phone captured the violent crash as it happened. The video shows the semi rounding a curve and then both the tractor and trailer completely tipping over. "I kind of expected what was going to happen. Didn't want it to happen, but there was no way to stop it," said Alarcon. The force of the impact was enough to break open the trailer and the entire contents of the load spilled all over the road. Fluids from the vehicle were also leaking onto the highway.
Alarcon said at that point all he could think about was the truck driver and getting him out of the truck before it caught fire. They immediately pulled over and ran over to the capsized cab. It didn't take long before other motorists began collecting around the cab and joined in the rescue. Once they spotted the driver under debris on the crushed side of the cab, they pulled out the broken window and began calling out to him. "We couldn't get an answer from him. Even though we keep calling him, 'Are you ok? Are you ok?' He didn't answer," Alarcon said. "I thought he was dead from the crash."
At that point a witness who also happened to be a medical professional began taking over and giving aide to the driver. Others worked quickly to block traffic and clear the area. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for emergency crews to arrive and they were able to pull the driver out of the cab. Alarcon says he was relieved to see the driver was breathing. Thankfully, he survived the crash with non-life threatening injuries and is reported to have suffered a broken shoulder.
The northbound lanes of the highway were completely shut down for the next seven hours as crews tackled the difficult job of cleaning up the debris and removing the massive vehicle. The Pennsylvania State Police said they are investigating the exact cause of the crash but Alarcon says he has own theory of what happened. "I didn't smell any alcohol or see any alcohol bottles in the cabin. So, I believe he probably fell asleep, tiredness. It was probably a long drive."