An Oregon man was lucky to survive an unusual accident recently that not only left him with a damaged car but also a broken leg after he was pushed off a highway bridge and fell about fifty feet into a river. Rescuers were able to reach him after about one hour, and he was transported to a nearby hospital, where he underwent surgery on his leg.
A spokesman for the Oregon State Police, who responded to the scene, pointed out that the man, Steven Arrasmith, was lucky to be alive. Any of the three things that happened to him that day—being hit by a car, falling off a bridge and into a river, and being stuck in near-freezing water for more than an hour—could have killed him.
The series of events began shortly before 6:00 a.m. on November 21 when a pickup truck lost control on black ice on the Snake River Bridge on I-84 at the Oregon-Idaho border. Arrasmith witnessed the pickup hit a guardrail and stopped to check on the occupant, who was not injured.
At that time, a second vehicle lost control on the ice and crashed into Arrasmith’s Jeep, which was shoved forward into him. That knocked Arrasmith over the railing of the bridge. He was only able to hang on for a few seconds before falling into the river about fifty feet below.
The crash is probably what broke Arrasmith’s leg (and some ribs), but the fall certainly wasn’t helpful. Fortunately, he hit the water feet-first, and his knowledge of the area helped him choose which direction to swim. Still, because the broken leg made it impossible for him to move normally, he had to wait partially submerged in the near-freezing river for about an hour until rescuers could lift him back to safety.
To our knowledge, the circumstances in this crash are unique. Very few drivers can report that they fell off a bridge (and fewer still can say that they survived the experience). But motor vehicle accidents happen all the time: In 2015, there were more than 6.2 million crashes on American roads, causing injury to more than 2.4 million people and killing over 35,000. That means that in the hour Steven Arrasmith spent in the Snake River before rescue, it’s likely that there were more than 700 other crashes elsewhere, which combined to send more than 270 people to the hospital and left four less-fortunate motorists dead.
When you’ve been injured in a crash, turn to Craig Swapp & Associates for assistance. We understand automobile accident law and have helped many clients win the compensation they need to cover the costs of their treatment and recovery, as well as lost income and other expenses related to the wreck. To schedule a free appointment to discuss your case, call us at 1-800-404-9000 or contact us online through the form on this page. You can also launch the LiveChat feature from any page of this website.