A California man credits a quick-thinking highway patrol officer for saving his life.
Mike Teselle explains how the patrolman put himself in danger and used his cruiser to protect the man who was oblivious to oncoming danger.
As I hear the collision, I start running.
Running for his life…darrell van natta said this video…these still pictures…are snapshots of an experience so harrowing, the chp officer involved:
He looked me in the eye and said you are really lucky to be here right now.
Tuesday morning…as the officer of this chp car performed a traffic break….Van Natta began to walk out on interstate 80 to grab debris that had fallen between two lanes of traffic.
Van Natta: It was a large bag of lawn clippings.
All the sudden van natta heard a sound so loud he described it with a single word.
Van Natta: Unbelieveable.
That sound was the officer, using his patrol car to absorb impact of the approaching car–that was 65 miles per hours–and showed no evidence of braking–less than 1/2- a football field from where Van Natta was standing.
The force of the collision so great the other drivers car crashed into Van Natta’s truck *after slamming this chp cruiser
Van Natta: When the collision happened he was probably closer than that truck to me. And you have to realize, he didn’t just sit there and take the hit he accelerated his vehicle to try to absorb some of the hit.
As this patrol car was slammed foward…listen… to just how close it came to barreling into van natta as he tried to run away.
Van Natta: As I’m running I feel the officers car hitting my heels.
I’ve got live traffic here and my truck here so i have no where to go but forward.
So as I got to the front of my truck i dive over in front of my truck.
As soon as Van Natta caught his breath he realized the officer, Steve jJohnson seen here, is bloodied and dazed…
His bell was definitely rung.
Now a day later, Van Natta told me the officer’s quick action to risk his own life by using his patrol car as a shield is what allowed him to survive until today–his 55th birthday.
He was there to protect me and he did.
TeSelle: Oh, and what did the officer tell the highway worker once they had a chance to talk?
Van Natta: He told me I should buy a lottery ticket.