Florida driver Tim Rutledge is lucky to be alive after being trapped under his truck, and frozen to the ground for six to eight long hours near Indianapolis on Monday.
Rutledge was on his way to Indiana when the storm hit his week, and he had stopped at the Pilot in Whiteland around 6 a.m. because his brakes had frozen.
The driver had gone under his truck to fix them – when his tractor shifted in the snow, catching his left side and arm, and pinning him beneath the axle.
Rutledge was frozen there, unable to move, in below zero temperatures.
Miraculously, Rutledge’s phone began to ring – his frantic wife was repeatedly calling him. His phone continuously vibrated and moved in his pocket, eventually working it’s way out and falling to the ground.
Somehow, the phone fell in front of him instead of behind him, and he was able to get the voice function to work long enough to make one call.
“I remember saying, I said ‘Whoever this is, whatever you do, don’t hang up the phone,” Rutledge said.
Lucky for Rutledge, it was his supervisor who was able to pinpoint his location. The supervisor called 911 as well as the truck stop – who sent employees out to find him.
Emergency responders had to cut Rutledge out of his frozen clothes to remove him from beneath the axle. Fortunately, Rutledge is doing well! He doesn’t have feeling in his left hand, but he is expected to regain it – and he will be out of the hospital very soon!
“Thank you very much to every person involved, especially the people there at the Pilot store and the EMS people that crawled under there in the freezing weather and dug me out,” Rutledge said.
More than 20 people across the United States have died since Sunday because of the severe storms and arctic temperatures. Seven of those deaths occurred in Illinois and six in Indiana.