A trucker whose rig toppled down an embankment off Interstate 85 northbound in Belmont on Thursday lost a leg but is expected to survive, multiple media outlets reported Friday.
“He’s a very blessed man to be alive,” Andy Leonard, a civilian patrol commander for the Belmont Police Department, told the Gaston Gazette.
WSOC-TV identified the trucker as Jackson Musyoka of Flower Mound, Texas.
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His wife, Tyshell, told the station her husband looked down for a moment. When he looked up, the rig was swerving, she said.
She told WSOC that she was on the phone with her husband when he crashed about 1:30 p.m. She stayed on the line during the four-hour rescue.
“That was the worst ever, just to hear all of that,” she told WSOC of the crash.
The rig veered down a steep embankment just before Belmont Exit 27.
Musyoka was pinned in twisted metal as firefighters worked to free him. Charlotte firefighters assisted Belmont firefighters in the rescue.
The ordeal took so long in part because emergency crews had to wait for tow trucks to stabilize the rig on the embankment, the Gazette reported. Firefighters then had to cut metal inch by inch to get to the driver.
Firefighters also contended with 90-degree-plus heat and had to be decontaminated after freeing the driver because of poison oak at the site.
Musyoka was weak but in good spirits, his wife told WSOC.
I-85 northbound finally reopened at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Backups stretched for miles.