EAST FREEDOM - A passing motorist smashed a wrecked tractor-trailer's window early Tuesday morning, allowing firefighters to more easily rescue the trucker and his pet dog from the smoking, overturned cab, the injured driver said Wednesday.
Tyson Long, 33, of Dysart said he fully expected to die when his truck flipped over a guardrail and into a steep drop on Interstate 99.
Disputing earlier claims that he'd fallen asleep at the wheel, Long said he felt his truck shift suddenly to the right before it locked into the metal guardrail.
"At that point, I realized I had to accept my fate," he said. "I really thought I was going to die."
His truck came to rest nearly upside-down, the cab already emitting smoke, Long said.
Fearing an explosion, he called to a driver who'd stopped nearby.
The motorist, who apparently left when emergency workers arrived, smashed in the truck's window with a crowbar, he said. Firefighters then pulled Long's road companion - Zoey, a papillon dog - from the wreckage before he managed to escape.
"It's definitely [the other driver] I could thank for getting me out of the truck," he said.
Long said he's bruised, cut and nursing a still-painful rib and right arm, but he was released from Altoona Regional without major injuries hours after the crash.
"I couldn't move my arm, and there was blood all over my face," he said of the immediate aftermath.
And Zoey, the dog, he said, got an ambulance ride when she refused to leave his side.
Long said he spent much of Tuesday thanking the workers who'd helped him, from firefighters and hospital staff to the transportation workers who installed the Interstate 99 guardrail.
State police said Tuesday that the crash is under investigation.