Two people on their separate ways to work crawled into a dump truck Thursday morning after it ran off the road and into a creek.
Inside the truck, Colby Young and Sam Blackburn found the driver submerged in water. They estimated he had been underwater for 3 or 4 minutes before they were able to reach him.
“For a minute I thought he was dead — he was very pale, not responsive at all — until he finally took a shallow breath in,” Young said. “So that was a pretty big relief.”
Firefighters were dispatched about 8:35 a.m. Thursday to the 5800 block of East 91st Street, where the dump truck had run off the road into a creek. The truck was driving westbound on 91st Street when it careened into creek.
The cause of the wreck was unclear Thursday evening.
Young said the truck swerved across his lane and he momentarily thought the truck was coming straight for him. Blackburn, who was westbound behind the truck, pulled off to the side of the road when he saw it go off the road.
“We noticed half of the cab of the truck was under water, and so I crawled up on top and Colby was right behind me,” he said.
Blackburn opened the door. Upon close inspection, he saw the unidentified driver’s shoulder sticking out of the water.
“I crawled in there and pulled his head out of the water,” Blackburn said. “Colby came in there with me, tried to pull him out.”
They realized he was pinned in the truck, though they could not tell by what. Young and Blackburn gripped the driver’s shirt and arms to hold him above water. The wrecked truck had polluted the water around them with oil and diesel fuel.
Young said they were in the truck’s cab for about 3 minutes when Tulsa firefighters arrived. Two firefighters crawled into the truck to take the men’s places. Young said that during the wait, the driver’s breathing was improving.
Emergency responders had to feel around in the creek water to determine how the driver was pinned. Tulsa Fire Capt. Thomas Hufford said the steering column and the gear shifter were preventing extrication.
“We then cut the roof off of the truck in order to give us a chance to pull him at a different angle,” Hufford states in his report.
The driver was regaining consciousness while firefighters were cutting off the truck’s roof. He was able to wiggle his legs while firefighters freed him from the truck, according to the report.
Emergency responders transported him to a local hospital, where he was being kept Thursday night for observation, firefighters said.
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