A truck driver dodged cars in the fast lane of the Santa Ana Freeway and crawled to safety after he was thrown from his truck during a blowout, the California Highway Patrol said.
The driver, Jaime Rivera Ramirez, 31, of Orange, suffered four broken teeth and cuts to his face, arms and left leg. He was listed in fair condition at La Palma Community Hospital.
"A few cars passed 2 or 3 feet away from me, and I rolled (to escape them)," Ramirez said from his hospital bed. "My leg was hurting, but I knew I had to stay away from the cars. I crawled over (to the median)."
CHP Officer Linda Burrus said the accident occurred at 9:50 a.m. on the northbound Santa Ana Freeway just north of Beach Boulevard. Ramirez was about to make a lane change to the right, but a car cut sharply in front of his tractor-trailer and forced him to brake suddenly, Burrus said.
As he hit the brakes, the left front tire blew.
Ramirez lost control of the truck and hit the center divider wall, Burrus said. The driver's door opened, and Ramirez, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown over the median into the fast lane of the southbound side.
"Ramirez looks up, sees the traffic coming at him, escapes being hit and crawls onto the median," Burrus said. "It's really miraculous that he was not hit. He was very lucky."
"I'm lucky to be alive," Ramirez concurred. "Everything happened in less than a minute."