Trucker OK after Vail Valley emergency crews cut him out of crushed cabin
VAIL — Three-year old Isaiah Davis bounced up and down on his dad, Tyler, shouting, “Are you OK, Daddy?”
“I’m OK,” Tyler responded quietly.
And he is. Tyler is in remarkably good shape for someone who was roused from a sound sleep last Thursday after being smacked awake by the trailer half of his westbound semitractor-trailer rig.
He’s still a little stiff and sore, but like he told his son, who he squeezes a little tighter these days, he’s OK.
Sure, there were those two hours late last week when he was uncertain, as local firefighters and rescue crews had to cut him out of the back of the sleeper cabin that his rig’s trailer had crushed. But the sleeper was crushed. Not him.
“They’re heroes,” Tyler’s wife Sanjana Davis said of the crews who worked in the frigid cold to rescue her husband from the wreckage.
You remember that huge storm that hit last Thursday afternoon. If you were skiing that afternoon you enjoyed new snow on every run.
If you were 32-year-old Tyler Davis you were thinking other things about the snow — like how difficult it is to learn to drive a big rig through it.
Tyler is learning to drive those big rigs. He had turned the wheel over to his trainer and climbed into the sleeper to rest.
They made it down Vail Pass just fine and had cleared Vail when Dowd Junction’s slick roads caught them, as it does to so many others.
Tyler awoke when he felt the rig start to slide and the trailer start to jackknife. The curtain was drawn between the sleeper and the cab, so he couldn’t see what was happening. But he said he knew.
“I knew what was going on because of the swerving. It almost felt like a giant sled,” Tyler said.
They crashed through the guardrail and careened down the embankment, finally coming to rest beside U.S. Highway 6 in Dowd Junction below.
The tractor stopped, but the trailer did not.
The jackknifed trailer kept coming, wrapping itself around the sleeper where Tyler was trapped, sort of like a giant C-clamp.
“When we got to the bottom, that’s when the trailer crashed into the truck,” Tyler said.
Emergency crews were on the scene in moments.
“It took hours to lift him up and pull him out,” Sanjana said.
When he was finally freed, Tyler was taken to the hospital and checked out. Miraculously, nothing was broken, at least nothing of Tyler’s. The truck is pretty busted up, though.
“This was our son that they took out. Thank you so much for your excellent service. God bless,” Tyler’s father Martin Davis wrote on the Eagle River Fire Protection District’s social media page.
Crews from the Eagle River Fire Protection District responded to the accident, along with first responders from the Eagle County Paramedics, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado State Patrol, the Vail Police Department, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Vail Fire Department.
“Thanks again for all that you do!” Tyler’s sister Jessica Davis Cloninger wrote on the Eagle River Fire District’s social media page.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.