Skip to comments.Trooper: Witnesses Were Amazed I Emerged From Wreck
Posted on 09/06/2006 6:42:27 PM PDT by Samwise
LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Resting in a hospital Wednesday, Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Kelly said he was in better shape than he thought he was going to be after a crash on Interstate 65 this week.
The crash's witnesses might think so, too.
Kelly had pulled over a tractor-trailer on I-65 in Clinton County and was doing paperwork in his squad car Tuesday afternoon when a second tractor-trailer slammed into the back of the car, crumpling it into the first truck.
To the amazement of witnesses, Kelly -- though hurt and bleeding -- got himself out of the wreckage. He emerged while spitting out a mouthful of glass and trying to clear debris from his eyes.
"I came out of my car, and I could see the look on the people's faces that were outside the car. I could see that they were pretty much shocked that I was coming out," Kelly told 6News' Norman Cox in his room in Lafayette's Home Hospital, which released the trooper hours after the interview.
Kelly would learn after the wreck that he had a broken vertebra along with many cuts and bruises. But in the moments following the crash, he said Wednesday, he didn't know whether he would survive. He was bleeding from his head.
"I thought that there was a high probability" of dying, Kelly said.
Kelly recalled the moments preceding the crash, saying he had no time to react to the approaching truck. He said he was typing on a laptop computer when he heard what turned out to be the tractor-trailer.
A mangled mess was made of Sgt. Rich Kelly's car, making it hard to imagine how he escaped.
"(I asked myself,) 'What is that noise?' And the next thing I know, I mean, it was dashboard and airbag and metal and glass," Kelly said.
Kelly's wife, LeAnn Kelly, said she saw pictures of the wreck after visiting her husband in the hospital. She said she believes his survival was a miracle.
"I've seen a lot of accidents. I've seen a lot of photos. I have never seen anything that bad and seen anyone walk away from it," she said.
Police said the trucker that hit Rich Kelly's car did not obey the state's move-over law, which requires vehicles to slow down and move a lane away to give police officers room to work.
No arrests were immediately made after the crash. Police said an investigation could take weeks to complete.
Rich Kelly, who said he loves his job and doesn't believe he'll have a problem with returning to road patrols, said he isn't sure whether his survival was miraculous.
"There was enough room to live in that car, and for whatever reason, I was given that much room. I would say that probably that it is a slight miracle," he said.
His squad car kinda looks like it got hit by an Israeli missile...
...no, a REAL missile, not a hoax job.
I'd call that a miracle.
My word, amazing he walked away.
WTF was up with the second rig?
What was the make of the car? Can't tell from the picture.
Thanks for the ping
You don't happen to know what kind of car the Indiana State Police drive?
Must have a very good crash cage - I thought only Volvo's had those.
If you are scheduled to die you die, if you are not scheduled to die you live. God is still in charge.
It's called IIRC, Cop Car Light Fixation.
Drivers get so engrossed in looking at the pretty blinking lights that they run into the dang cop car.
It's a miracle.
It looks like a matchbox car to me. :^) Seriously, I don't know. There is a video at the First Person link on this website.
Maybe you can figure it out. The video is incredible.
God is the only explanation as to why that Trooper walked away from that pile of mangled steel.
"I always hang a rosary in my car and my wife is like, 'Oh, it's a miracle that you're even alive.' And I say, 'Well, we've got good company in there' so that may be one of the good things that happened. That's all you can hope for," Sgt. Kelly said.
From the link in post 19.
Yes, it is. Thanks for finding it.
I dunno. I posted another link in post 19. Maybe you can tell from the video (First Person link). There are other cars in it.
it's just amazing he was able to walk away from that.
I am not aware of this law. So if the person is parked on the shoulder, you're supposed to go over to the left? It doesn't make sense. Isn't a shoulder supposed to be for emergency purposes/authorised vehicles???
whoa... Super Trooper!!!
What make of car?
Process of elmination leads me to believe it was a Ford Crown Vic.
Yes, that's the law in Indiana. A few years ago we had a long string of officer deaths because idiots just crashed into them.
Its common in many states and spreading. Its not really unreasonable either I can't believe they need a law but it looks like we do.
Either slow down or change lanes for emergency crews. If you want to do 70 as you pass give them a lane's berth otherwise SLOW DOWN.
The move over law here in NC requires motorists to move to the left lane if an emergency vehicle is stopped on the right side of the road, shoulder, emergency lane, etc.
Don't know about that, but a dozen years ago I was driving on the interstate and switched lanes to avoid a semi on the side of the road. This was in the middle of winter, with ice and snow, and I slid off into the median.
I got winched back onto the highway; no tickets were issued.
I agree it looks to be a Ford Crown Victoria.
I'd go buy a lottery ticket...
might not be a bad idea
Because the truck is in a jack knife position, I'd be willing to bet something happened prior to the impact of the police car that got the truck jack knifing... ...but we'll never know the truth because it's ALWAYS the trucks fault...
Over 90% of all police vehicle in the Uniteds States are Ford Crown Victorias. It's a good bet that was a Crown Vic in the pic.
The Crown Vic used to have a bad habit of exploding when rearended by a high speed vehicle.
We lost a Missouri State trooper about two years ago in a similar incident. He was writing a ticket out and a 1 ton dually pickup pulling a large trailer hit the Crown Vic in the rearend. The P/U was doing about 70 to 75mph when it hit the troopers car. The trooper died from his injuries, the gent getting the ticket was lucky to get out of the car alive and had serious injuries as I recall.
Ford supposedly redesigned the gas tank area a couple years back but the Mo trooper had an earlier car. Not to many cars can take a hit in the rear end and come out okay.
Glad to hear that Sgt Kelly is okay.
"I agree it looks to be a Ford Crown Victoria."
As I recall, GM got out of the business. The other alternative is the Mopar Intrepid, and I've not seen any of those in long-distance cruiser duty.
Based on a 2005 story I found through Google I would say that's right.
I recently saw an NYS Crown Vic that had a blow out at 90mph. The front end of the car no longer existed but the trooper walked away. I like my cars big and heavy.
Then if you drive, you know what a fluster cluck these pull overs are. Why do you supposed that truck is jack knifed?
If it happenned like the story states, the front end of that truck would be gone, and so would the cop...
What the...??? There is a SKULL on the dash of that truck!!!
It may be that not every state has the law. They should. Not just to avoid hitting policemen but citizens and EMT, too. I always move over if I can. I certainly slow down, even though folks call slowing down "rubber-necking."
Let's say traffic is rolling along at 65-70. Everyone sees the cop on the side accept a few tail gating four wheelers, and starts moving over. This copper color rig has his turn signal on, and is awaiting his chance to merge left to give the traffic stop it required space.
Just then, one of the impatient tailgating four wheelers whip out in front of the copper color rig missing the rigs bumper by mere inches. Then, the four wheeler sees the disco lights and lays on the brakes, causing the rig to have to slam his on to avoid hitting the four wheeler who just did something incredibly stupid. In locking up the brakes like he did, the rig jack knifes and slides off the road and hits the police car.
The reason I ask, this is not a case of some truck plowing into the back of a cop car like the article suggests, and readers bought into here. This rig clearly hits the squad car in a jack knifed position... ...I drove long enough to know that it takes a little bit of a distance to place that rig, jack knifed in the position it is in....notice the front tires are barely in the driving lane...
I think that's the first truck. The 2nd truck slammed into the police car shoving it under the first truck while also knocking the first truck sideways.
God apparently has plans for that trooper here.
When I worked the south Seattle freeway in the 80s, truck drivers would try and get as close to us as possible to blow off our smokey bear hats. They called it "dusting" a bear. It was a nationwide activity, and I recall a lieutenant back east getting killed by a truck driver trying to "dust" him.
Or the driver fell asleep, or he was swerving to avoid a four wheeler that cut him off, or the driver was stoned/drunk, or playing with his radio or computer, ad infinitum ad nauseum.
That is a night time occurrence. We called it "mothing into the lights".
"I'd call that a miracle."
Sort of along the lines of this one...
I'm as much a skeptic as anyone has an "out of body" experience...
but the story of how this guy actually lived and is walking today is