Driver survives when 7,000-pound pipe crushes van

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   July 17, 2017 at 10:49 AM
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July 17 (UPI) -- A Florida man survived with only minor injuries when a 7,000-pound metal pipe fell from a crashed truck and crushed the roof of his van.

Jesus Armando Escobar, 36, of Orlando, was exiting from Interstate 4 to State Road 528 in Orange County when a Mach truck loaded with scrap metal crashed into an overpass guardrail and overturned about 7:35 a.m. Saturday.

A 7,000 pound metal pipe fell from the truck as it crashed, fell from the overpass, and landed on Escobar's Pontiac van.

State troopers said the driver's side roof of the van was crushed by the pipe, but Escobar was able to walk away with minor injuries. Officials said anyone sitting in any other seat in the van likely would have been killed.

Theodore Olson of recycling center AATR Orlando said he was shocked to hear the driver had survived.

"I've seen crushed cars before, but nothing in this kind of circumstance, where, like, they were up on on upper bridge and it rolled out of a container and crushed a car," Olson told WFTV. "I thought it was a fatality, to be honest with you. But they came out and said, 'Nope, he's only got scratches.'"

Lupe Grover, the AATR driver who towed the wrecked van, expressed a similar sentiment. "I thought for sure no one had survived that," Grover told WKMG-TV.

Escobar was released from the hospital Sunday night. His family said they were grateful he sustained only minor injuries.

"It's almost shocking. No idea how to express anything else," said Maria Figueroa, Escobar's mother-in-law. "It's scary."

The truck driver, Antonio Santiago Wharton, 33, was ticketed for careless driving.

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