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MORRIS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A man miraculously survived a crash in which his vehicle was impaled by a guardrail in Washington County.
According to police, the accident happened on State Route 18 in Morris Township around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday.
KDKA’s John Shumway Report —
“By all reasonable, rational accounts, this gentleman should not still be alive,” says Greene County Regional Police Chief Michael Natale.
On a straight stretch of Route 18 in southern Washington County, Seth Yoders was heading home to Washington from his coal mining job in West Virginia.
He was tired, and says, “I nodded off a couple of times and thought I could make it home. It was only 15 minutes away or so.”
He didn’t make it.
As his eyelids fell for the third time, Yoders’ 2010 Ford Focus left the road and smashed head-on into a guardrail. The end of the guardrail folded back a few feet, then became a spear, piercing the car, sliding off the engine block, flattening out, and crushing its way towards the driver’s seat.
Yoders was not wearing his seat belt, which in this rare instance was a good thing. Chief Natale says the impact sent Yoders airborne into the windshield.
“Because he was up in the air and off the seat,” Natale says, “the guard rail slid directly underneath him and he landed on top of the guard rail.”
Yoders knows what would have happened had he been strapped in.
“It would have went right through me,” he said.
Yoders does not remember the impact, but says, “When I come to, I was on top of it [the guard rail] with my legs pinned around the side of it. I was straddling it like a horse and leaning back.”
A farmer had rushed to the car and was trying to stop the bleeding coming from the top of Yoders’ head.
A few minutes later, Chief Natale arrived.
“I thought it was going to be fatal to be honest,” he said. “I’m still surprised that it’s not. I was amazed that: A.) this gentleman was still alive, and B.) not bleeding from anywhere other than his head.”
In fact, Yoders has some scrapes and severe bruising on the insides of his legs, but is otherwise fine and expecting to go home from the hospital on Thursday.
“I’m glad I’m all right, definitely wouldn’t be able to see them [his family] like this. Definitely hard to wrap your head around it,” he said. “I’d like to think someone was watching over me, a spiritual-type deal. Someone was definitely with me.”
Yoders hopes others who are prone to drowsy driving will hear his story and learn from it.
“Definitely a lesson of what not to do. If you ever get tired, pull over, no matter where you’re at. Pull over and sleep, that’s what I’ll definitely do next time,” he said.
The way Chief Natale sees it, Yoders “came up with the one in a million chance to be alive.”