Any well raised person is eager to offer assistance to someone in need. It is with that in mind that 24-year-old Jeremiah Cribb, a FedEx truck driver parked to see how he could be of assistance to a stranded driver along a bridge in Salisbury.
Despite putting on his hazard lights to warn oncoming cars, he soon realized an 18-wheeler was headed straight toward them.
In a split second, he jumped hoping to land on a median rather he fell 75 feet from a North Carolina highway bridge, surviving and confounding medics.
When Cribb jumped off the Yadkin River Bridge, he landed on a sandbar 75 feet (23 meters) below.
“When I realized he was going to hit the car, which he did, … I just reacted. It’s pitch black dark. I was thinking I was hopping over a median,” Cribb said. “I just started free-falling.”
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
“I thought I broke my back,” he told the Salisbury Post. “I moved my neck. I moved my legs. I crawled to my phone to call 911 and the police were already there.”
Unsure if he was alive, Salisbury firefighter Jacob Vodochodsky rappelled down the bridge and initially thought Cribb was paralyzed.
“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 at a news conference.
But Cribb felt the pinch and was able to stand despite some dizziness and shortness of breath. He was able to get into a harness to be pulled to safety.
“To be honest, (it’s) entirely miraculous,” Salisbury Fire Battalion Chief Nicholas Martin said. “We would not anticipate the outcome from such a fall would be so positive.”
In the end, Cribb only had three fractured ribs and a collapsed lung. He is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days.
“I was not supposed to get up,” Cribb said. “I just thank God I’m alive.”