Car runs off overpass; witness rescues trapped couple - WSMV News 4

Car runs off overpass; witness rescues trapped couple

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EAST RIDGE, TN. (WRCB) - New details are emerging in the crash that caused major traffic backups during Monday night's rush hour near the Georgia-Tennessee line. 

A couple drove off the Ringgold Road overpass, crashing onto Interstate 75 below.

Witnesses tell Channel 3 the man and woman appear to be in their 70s and noticed a handicapped sticker on their license plate.

They were both taken to the hospital, but East Ridge police say their injuries are minor.

Those who saw it happen gave Channel 3 their first hand account of what they describe as a freak accident that ended much better than first expected.

A car lands onto the interstate below, with the heaviest traffic of the day. It's a car that came out of nowhere for drivers heading south on 75 Monday. To understand how it got there, we have to go back a few minutes.

"It turned green and they just proceeded to go," witness Shari Ballard says.

Shari Ballard was directly behind the car as it crept onto the Ringgold Road overpass.

"They swerved back and then they went straight. I mean, they went straight over and flipped," Ballard says. "It was one of those things, you knew what was going to happen, and the only thing you could do was yell oh no, no!"

"They never touched the brakes or anything. It was like something off TV or movie," witness Steven Priester says.

Steven Priester was about 15 cars back, but immediately jumped out and ran to help.

"My first thought was I hope they didn't land on the Interstate," Priester says.

They did land there, but surprisingly not onto oncoming traffic, rather on a concrete barrier.

"They landed right there. God was with them," Ballard says.
"They were both still in their seatbelt when I got there. The other door was smashed and couldn't even get it open," Priester says.

Priester used a pocket knife to cut the woman out of her seat belt.

"She started hollering, so I just laid down, pulled her out of the car a little and just let her lay on top of me so she wasn't laying on the ground or anything," he says.

Witnesses are glad to hear the couple is recovering, after fearing worst in those first few moments.

"That's the scariest thing I've ever seen," Ballard says.

Since hundreds of drivers saw the aftermath, the cause has become a big talker.

Police say they're still investigating, but no charges have been filed at this point.

Witnesses want people to know the couple was not speeding and did not appear to be using a cell phone.

"Figured they might have blacked out or something," Priester says.

Witnesses said they were shocked by how the number of people who saw it happen, and just kept driving.

With cars zipping by at 70 miles per hour, they also want to point out it was a dangerous spot for emergency responders and say they deserve a pat on the back.
Again, the couple is recovering with minor injuries.


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