CANTON, Ohio -- A local tow truck driver says he was nearly killed, when a teen driver plowed into a disabled SUV on the side of the highway.
"I could have very easily been killed yesterday but God's grace or something was on my side," said Shawn Migdol, a tow truck driver from Canton.
On Thursday morning, Migdol pulled his truck with the emergency lights flashing onto the berm of southbound I-77, to help a friend whose SUV was broken down on the side of the highway.
Investigators say Migdol was walking toward the Ford Escape, when the 16-year-old driving a Subaru, crashed into the back of the disabled SUV, knocking Migdol to the ground. Another vehicle then slammed into the Escape, and Migdol ended up underneath the vehicle.
From his bed at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Migdol told Fox 8, "I felt like I was going to die right then and there, I could hear the screeching brakes, all the glass breaking."
Migdol, who suffered a broken shoulder and a compound fracture of his lower leg, says he was afraid he was going to die if there was another collision, so he crawled out and threw his body over the median wall.
"It was just like a gut instinct, 'hey you're got to get out of the way or you're really going to die,’” he said.
Troopers with the Ohio Highway Patrol said the accident illustrates why state law requires drivers to move over, any time there is an emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the highway.
“The driver was cited for failing to maintain an assured clear distance, you know the traffic was heavy, it's rush hour. You know he had to be distracted or his attention diverted somewhere, not giving a safe distance of the vehicle in front of him," said Lt. Leo Shirkey.
Troopers said that so far this year, in Stark County alone, nearly 400 drivers have been pulled over for failing to move over for emergency vehicles.
"It all goes back to being in a hurry in the morning, not leaving yourself enough time, following traffic too closely, you're not leaving yourself an area to react to what's happening in front of you," said Lt. Shirkey.
Shawn Migdol is hoping his story will help change driver attitudes and bad habits.
"Slow down and get over, you don't have to come barreling down at 70 miles an hour," said Migdol, "You've just got to pay attention when you're driving and you've got to be alert of all your surroundings, you can't be fiddling with your phone or snap chatting, or whatever teenagers do these days."