It took emergency workers nearly 90 minutes to free the lone occupant of a car that slid under a log truck west of Longview early Wednesday afternoon.
The accident occurred at 2 p.m. at the intersection of Abernathy Creek Road and State Route 4 in the Stella area.
According to officials at the scene, the Toyota Camry was westbound on the highway and skidded under the trailer of the fully loaded log truck, which was on Abernathy Creek Road waiting to turn on to SR 4, according to Corey Huffine of the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.
Efforts to free the pinned driver were thwarted by the weight of logs atop the vehicle, Huffine said. Responders finally managed to extricate the person at 3:30 p.m., exclaiming “He’s up!” and taking him away by ambulance to St. John Medical Center. The man, though his face was bloodied, was able to stand on his own, and officials called off a plan to have him evacuated by Life Flight helicopter.
Huffine said he was “very surprised, very glad” about the man’s condition after his rescue. A Washington State Patrol official called it “pretty unbelievable.”
The man’s identity and city of residence were not immediately made available.
The log truck driver was not injured.
It was likely raining at the time of the collision, Huffine said. Rainy conditions, poor visibility and a narrow landing zone prompted officials to divert Life Flight to Mount Solo Middle School and call off a landing at the accident scene. However, the helicopter became unnecessary once the passenger was freed and found not to be in critical condition.
Both the log truck and passenger vehicle were off the roadway, but one lane of travel remained closed, causing slowdowns in both directions of SR 4.
The Washington State Patrol, Cowlitz Sheriff’s Office and Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue responded to the scene.