SALISBURY, N.C. — A FedEx worker who stopped to help a stranded driver fell off the Yadkin River Bridge in Rowan County early Wednesday morning.
Authorities said Jeremiah Cribb survived the fall. He was conscious while taken to a local hospital with serious injuries.
“I just thank God I’m alive,” Cribb told Channel 9 reporter Tina Terry over the phone.
According to officials, Cribb fell 75 feet from the Interstate 85 bridge, onto the river bed sandbar below. After crews responded around 2:30 a.m., it took them 45 minutes to rescue him.
MUST SEE: This picture shows an emergency worker coming to the #rescue of a local FedEx driver who fell 75-feet off the Yadkin River bridge on I-85. I talked to the victim who SURVIVED the fall and rescue workers. See this truly amazing story at 5 & 6pm. @wsoctv pic.twitter.com/NmkfLwqR2U— Tina Terry (@TinaTerryWSOC9) February 19, 2020
Before the fall, Cribb was helping a stranded driver in the fast lane when a tractor-trailer came speeding by. Cribb jumped out of the way because he thought he was going to get hit and that’s when he fell.
“I was flashing my light on and off, and he was in the left lane,” Cribb said. “(The driver of the tractor-trailer) didn’t merge, and we didn’t know if he was gonna hit the car. But, I kinda had a feeling that he was, and he smashed into the car.”
Cribb thought he was jumping onto a grass median at the same height, and that’s when he fell onto the sandbar dozens of feet below.
Emergency personnel responded to the scene and firefighter Jacob Vodochodsky rappelled off the bridge with a medical bag.
"I gave him a little pinch on the leg, because the way he was laying there, looked like he may have been paralyzed from that great of a fall,” Vodochodsky said. “He felt it.”
Delayed: 2:34am 2/19- SFD assisted @millersferry, @RowanCountyES EMS & Rescue Squad with a rescue assignment NB I-85, Yadkin River bridge. Crews extricated a patient 75' from the river bed sandbar. Extrication time was 45 minutes, patient transferred conscious w/ serious injuries pic.twitter.com/mEA8y5XxBW— Salisbury NC Fire (@SalisburyNCFire) February 19, 2020
Despite some dizziness and shortness of breath, Cribb was in such good shape that first responders were able to stand him up and bring him back up to the bridge.
"To be honest, that's entirely miraculous,” Salisbury Fire Battalion Chief Nicholas Martin said.
"Words can't describe it,” Cribb said. “I'm still trying to wrap my head around it."
Cribb has a few broken ribs and a collapsed lung. He’ll be in a hospital for a few days. He said he is grateful to be alive and grateful for the rescue workers who helped him.
Millers Ferry Fire Department, Salisbury Fire Department, Rowan County Rescue Squad and emergency workers from Davidson County all responded to assist with the rescue.
“Rowan County EMS treated this individual after the fire departments worked together to bring him up to the ambulance,” said Chief Chris Soliz, Rowan County Emergency Services. “He was transported to Baptist Hospital. Overall, this was a good example of a cooperative, multi-agency operation.”
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