CLEVELAND (AP) — A truck slid off an interstate overpass and plunged about 35 feet to the highway below, smashing the car of a pregnant woman who eventually managed to free herself and wasn’t seriously hurt.
“I’m healthy. I’m sore and stiff. The baby’s fine,” Anna Martinez told NBC’s Today Show yesterday.
Martinez, 25, of Cleveland Heights, said she wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry when she saw the truck slide off the Interstate 71 overpass and fall toward her car on state Route 176 near downtown.
“Well, there’s an element of the ridiculous about a semi flying through the air and landing on a car,” she said. “It is kind of funny. It’s not something you’d think would ever happen. It was just so random. And the other part of it is I was really terrified and I wanted to cry.”
Martinez, who is five-months pregnant, made an emergency call from her cell phone about 1 a.m. Tuesday and told a dispatcher: “A semi flew off of the interstate and landed on top of me!”
“I did slam on my brakes and tried to avoid it,” she said. The truck smashed her car’s roof and demolished the rear of her Honda Accord. She was wearing a seat belt, which would not release in the wreckage.
Martinez called her husband to tell him she was trapped and smelled gasoline. She eventually freed herself and spent about 15 hours at a hospital.
She recalled she was not sure how to react.
“I saw a truck falling from the sky and sparks flying from it,” she said on Today. “That part was definitely in slow motion and so was the impact. My first thought was, ‘Is this real?’ It didn’t seem like something that really happens, outside of movies. I thought, ‘Oh my God!’“
The truck driver, Patrick McCray, 35, of Bay City, Mich., was treated at a hospital and released. He said he lost control of his truck when it skidded on ice.
“As soon as I felt a crash was inevitable, I closed my eyes and braced myself for impact,” he said.