SOUTH BEND – Passers-by said after one look at a dump truck in the center median of the U.S. 20 bypass, it's a miracle the driver made it out of the accident alive.
Lucky to be alive. It's an understatement. Especially when you consider the driver of this dump truck crashed into the median, ended up on its side in both the eastbound and westbound lanes on the bypass, and the truck caught fire after diesel fuel spilled.
"He crawled out someway I don't know how he got out of it, but he did," said George DeMeyer. "He's got some scratches and bruises but that's it, you know. Thank God. Thank God."
Jeffrey Kitkowski, the driver, was rushed to Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He was treated and released.
DeMeyer drove behind Kitkowski who drove for Mishawaka Concrete and Asphalt Recycling.
No heart-beating. No mind-racing. The only thing George could do was react.
"I slammed the brakes down, and got it slowed down to stop," said DeMeyer. "We got out and called 911."
When South Bend police and fire and St. Joseph County police arrived, crews quickly shut down traffic in both lanes.
It led to massive backups on Ironwood, State Road 3-31 and some nearby roads as people looked for detours.
All of that happened as crews disassembled the bed from the frame, towed the rest of the chassis, and cleaned-up the dirt and diesel fuel.
Sgt. Bill Redman with St. Joseph County police was one of the first officers to get to the scene.
"We were just surprised and amazed that the driver was able to get out of this," said Redman.