A 26-car pileup in Oregon involving 100 people in 26 cars resulted in 12 injured drivers and one amazing photograph of a driver who against all odds – survived the horrific crash virtually unharmed. The picture above features 27-year-old Kaleb Whitby, who was driving his four-door pickup truck in the heavy wind and fog when the pileup occurred. In the aftermath, Whitby found his truck crushed and tangled into a small three-foot side gap between two 18-wheeler semi-trucks. Against all logic and probability, Whitby survived the ordeal despite his Chevrolet Silverado being flattened into a three-foot wide space.
The Oregonian interviewed Whitby and gave a gut-wrenching account of the accident.
“Headed up a slight hill into a curve, Whitby decided to pass the semi-truck in front of him, but then thought better of it. The fog was too thick. He backed off. When he rounded the curve and started descending, Whitby saw the semi again — but this time it was jackknifed across the interstate. He swerved to the right but ended up hitting the back end of the trailer. It flipped him around, and instantly his truck stalled — leaving him splayed out with his passenger side facing oncoming traffic.
Then the headlights of an oncoming semi-truck filled the window frame. “I just braced and hoped that everything would be all right.”
After Whitby found himself wedged in the wreckage, he cut his seatbelt with a pocketknife and told himself to remain calm while he waited for rescue. At first, none of the truckdrivers milling around the wreckage noticed a vehicle had been crushed between the rigs. When Sergi Karplyuk, the driver of the semi that slammed into Whitby, noticed the wreckage he said he was sure he was going to find a horribly mutilated body.
“I see this head and he’s just like, starts speaking. It’s just this guy and he says, ‘I’m okay, I just can’t get out.’ He was just so calm that I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Are you sure you’re totally okay? Your legs aren’t crushed and your knees are all right? He kept saying he was fine.’ “
Divine intervention or just blind luck, Whitby’s vehicle appeared to miraculously crush around him, forming a cramped, protective pocket around his body. Whitby, who had left his pregnant wife and 2-year-old son at home while he drove to Council, Idaho to pick up a load of cattle, commented on the aftermath:
“Thank God that I’m still alive… Now I’ve got to go figure out why.”
As for his injuries, Whitby told reporters:
“I’ve got two Band-Aids on my right ring finger. And a little bit of ice on my left eye.”