Chris Cox came upon a truck upside down in a snowbank along state Highway 27 on Saturday morning and he was worried. The cab of the truck wasn’t visible.
“It was obvious with the plume of steam and mist of snow in the air that it had happened in that instant,” said Cox, who discovered the crash just after 10 a.m. “I was concerned that it was actually flattened and there might be some serious injury.”
He grabbed the small, military folding shovel he carries in his truck and started digging. He was relieved to discover that the cab of the Ford pickup had just sunk into the snow and wasn’t smashed. He dug out the passenger window and shouted to the people inside, who told him they weren’t seriously hurt.
The female passenger was able to crawl out on her own once Cox broke the window and got her seat belt off. The male driver had pre-existing health issues and was unable to get out on his own, Cox said.
“I had to drag him out by the top of his coat,” Cox said.
A crew from nearby Spokane County Fire District 8 Station 82 in Valleyford arrived shortly after Cox pulled the driver free. They worked to get him on a stretcher and into the warm ambulance, said District 8 Lt. Adam Villard.
The woman in the pickup said she was uninjured, but the driver was taken to the hospital for an evaluation, Villard said. He credited their use of seat belts for minimizing their injuries in the crash.
Cox said he never asked the driver what happened, but said the highway had snowy and icy patches Saturday. “I wasn’t going to travel at the speed limit on that road this morning,” he said.
Villard said there are some problem areas on Highway 27 where there are frequent crashes, but that the spot near Belair Road isn’t one of them. “That part of the highway usually gets some decent sun,” he said.
However, fire crews have responded to three rollover crashes in the same general area in the last week, Villard said.
It’s not usual for people like Cox to stop and help crash victims before fire crews arrive, he said. “People want to help others,” he said.
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