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Miraculous survival in crash before Christmas PDF Print E-mail


By Jan Rahn

Managing Editor


In what appeared to be a Christmas miracle, three survived a crash west of Grant last week that left two vehicles totalled, one of them a burned-out shell.

According to the Perkins County Sheriff’s Office, a call came in on Thursday, Dec. 16 that dispatched law enforcement, Grant Volunteer Fire Department and Perkins County Ambulance personnel to the scene of a two-vehicle injury accident at the intersection of county roads 761 and 324 one mile north and four west of Grant.

The driver of a white 1996 Dodge pickup, Theron Davidson, 21, of Ogallala, who was southbound on Road 324, failed to yield to a westbound 2008 Ford pickup pulling a trailer driven by Jeffrey Roberts, 46, of Rapelje, Mont.

Davidson was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected, receiving disabling head injuries, according to the sheriff. He was transported by ambulance to the Perkins County Community Hospital.

Davidson’s pickup caught fire and burned where it came to rest in a cornfield on the southwest corner of the intersection.

The pickup driven by Roberts flipped on its side and slid into the cornfield adjacent to the other vehicle, with the trailer it was pulling coming to rest upright on the roadway south of the intersection.

Roberts and his passenger, Matthew Harvey, 25, of Lake George, Minn., were wearing seatbelts and were not ejected.

According to the sheriff’s report, Roberts received possible elbow, lower arm and hand injuries. Harvey received disabling face injuries. They were both transported to Perkins County Community Hospital.

Ten personnel from the Grant Volunteer Fire Department responded to the accident. According to Fire Chief Don Softley, seven EMT personnel attended to the accident victims while three firefighters worked on extinguishing the pickup fire.

It took several minutes to totally extinguish the fire with water and lots of foam, said Softley. Because of the tightly compressed metal that resulted from impact, water and foam were used to trickle down and settle into the tight spots which continued to burn.

Softley said he believes if the driver had not been ejected, he would have been trapped in the burning vehicle which is thought to have erupted in flames on impact.

According to the sheriff’s office, neither drugs nor alcohol were a factor in the accident.

Both vehicles were a total loss, and Davidson received a citation for failure to yield the right of way. Roberts was not cited.

Perkins County Sheriff Jim Brueggeman said, “We ask that motorists not travel faster than the 50 mile per hour speed limit on county roads, as well as obey and follow regulatory signage at intersections to prevent these types of accidents.”

“Slowing down, obeying signage and taking a few extra seconds to look at an intersection saves unnecessary injuries and loss of life,” said Brueggeman.