MOUNT VERNON, WA – A woman is one of the luckiest people alive after a semitrailer drove over her vehicle in horrific crash on November 16th – and she survived.
There’s really not a word to describe this collision. Miraculously believed to be minor injuries. The car was struck from behind, folded the car in half, and semi came to rest on top of the car. In my 14 year career, I have never seen anything like it. https://t.co/iUsSNIhHYV pic.twitter.com/EPGI70s3Um
— Trooper Rocky Oliphant (@wspd7pio) November 16, 2021
The driver of the 2015 Altima, who was not identified, was driving along Interstate 5 in the Mount Vernon area when she found herself behind a semi-trailer, and in front of another one. Troopers reported that the driver of the Altima had to slow down and the semitrailer that was behind her could not stop before crashing into her.
The impact between the two vehicles sent the Nissan into the other semitrailer causing it to be folded almost into a taco. The other semi then came to rest on top of the Altima.
In what should have been a gruesome traffic fatality had a bright spot, the woman not only survived, but she was not seriously injured. The Washington State Patrol Trooper who investigated the crash, Rocky Oliphant, posted pictures of the damage on Twitter. He said:
“There’s really not a word to describe this collision. Miraculously believed to be minor injuries. The car was struck from behind, folded the car in half, and semi came to rest on top of the car. In my 14 year career, I have never seen anything like it.”
As Troopers and rescue workers arrived on the scene, they located the driver of the vehicle trapped inside of the car. Since the crash happened on a bridge, every car that continued passing in the lanes that were not affected caused the bridge to vibrate.
"MIRACULOUS": A Washington state trooper said he'd 'never seen anything like it' when a driver was able to get out of this vehicle on their own after a semi folded the car in half. https://t.co/6FP9Pg1F0Y
— FOX 35 Orlando (@fox35orlando) November 18, 2021
The vibration caused concern that it would eventually cause the semi-trailer that was on top of the Altima to shift weight and potentially kill the woman trapped inside. Because of this fear, they ordered all lanes of travel to be stopped so rescue crews could work to get the trapped woman free.
Tow trucks arrived on scene and began working to lift the semi-trailer from the Altima. Once the tow truck was able to provide a little bit of breathing room for the woman, she was able to crawl out of the vehicle on her own. Oliphant said:
“She was able to pull herself out with her own power. Which is incredible.”
Oliphant described the manner in which the car folded, with the trunk coming up and over the passenger compartment, provided a ramp for the semi-trailer and was able to take some of the weight off of the car. Oliphant, in describing the incident, said:
“Lucky is not the right word because that was not a lucky collision…but she may be the luckiest unlucky person.”
Mike Dewitt, one of the people who witnessed the crash spoke to KOMONews about the incident. He said:
“Just [heard] a loud bang. Everybody [in] my family [was] like there’s no way, no way somebody survived that.”
"There's no explanation to why she's alive."
— ABC News (@ABC) November 18, 2021
The driver of the semi-trailer that caused the crash was not identified, however, Washington State Troopers did confirm that he was at fault for the crash. Troopers cited him for following too closely which carries a civil fine of $189.
People who hear of this crash refer to it as a miracle while others try to explain it away through science. Regardless of how the woman survived with only minor injuries, we may never know.
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According to reports, 20-year-old Reynaldo Figueroa-Ardon was walking through Mulberry Lane in Whitemarsh Township during the morning of March 10th while allegedly trying to check for unlocked vehicles within the neighborhood.
A Whitemarsh Township Police officer, identified as K-9 Officer Matthew Stadulis, had responded to the area in question after receiving reports of the suspect allegedly trying to check vehicle door handles.
Officer Stadulis had reportedly observed Figueroa-Ardon in the area actively walking away, which Officer Stadulis was said to have ordered the suspect to stop several times – which Figueroa-Ardon allegedly disregarded said commands.
The officer then jogged over to the suspect and reportedly grabbed his arm, asking Figueroa-Ardon what he was doing in the area.
At this point, police say that Figueroa-Ardon produced a firearm, pointed it at the officer’s head, and pulled the trigger three times.
However, the firearm never wound up going off.
A scuffle ensued between the suspect and the officer, which Officer Stadulis was said to have successfully disarmed the suspect and managed to get him under control.
Additional officers wound up arriving on scene and Figueroa-Ardon was placed into custody.
Investigators later found out that the firearm that Figueroa-Ardon allegedly dry-fired was loaded at the time, but no round was actually chambered at the time when the trigger was pulled.
Further investigation revealed that the gun Figueroa-Ardon allegedly used was reported as stolen from a vehicle on March 9th in Worcester Township.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele gave the following statement after charges were announced against the suspect:
“For a police officer, even a routine call can turn deadly in moments. All of us in law enforcement are feeling very blessed right now that the defendant wasn’t able to rack a bullet into the chamber of the stolen gun before he pulled the trigger.”
“Thankfully, the police officer went home to his family after this very dangerous incident.”
Whitemarsh Township Police Chief Christopher Ward, who described Officer Stadulis as a father, husband, son, brother and veteran, also commended the officer on his quick actions when dealing with the suspect:
“This police officer…reacted quickly and used his training and experience to gain control of this very dangerous situation, thankfully, with the best possible outcome.”
Juliet Curci, one of the locals who lives in the neighborhood where the incident occurred, is among those pleased to hear that Officer Stadulis survived the encounter:
“We’re so grateful for the judgment of the police officer and the restraint of the police officer in this situation, which I’m sure was very terrifying.”
Police are uncertain as to what Figueroa-Ardon was doing in the Whitemarsh Township area in Pennsylvania, as the suspect is reportedly from Vineland, New Jersey where he’s amassed several other previous arrests – including one as recent as March 8th, 2021.
Figueroa-Ardon has since been charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, among other charges. His bail has been set at $3.5 million.
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