STARK COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — Two men in Northeast Ohio survived a crash that sent a guardrail slicing through the middle of their car. One of them calls the relatively fortunate turn of events a “Christmas miracle.”
Jimmy Burchett, 23, was driving to a family celebration on Christmas Eve with his best friend, Anthony Fisher, when his Dodge Charger suddenly slid off the ice- and snow-covered road in Stark County. The car hit a guardrail, which went through the cabin and exploded out the back window.
“We saw it last second. We thought it just was going to hit,” Burchett told NEWS10’s sister station in Ohio. “It was probably one of the loudest sounds I’ve ever heard.”
Troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol and firefighters with the Sandy Creek Joint Fire District were not optimistic when they heard the first reports from the scene. “Not something we see every day, and everybody knows that’s normally not such a good situation,” said Sandy Creek Fire Chief Aaron Stoller. “It went all the way through the car and probably out the back by 12 to 14 feet.”
Burchett said that after the crash, he was immediately pinned under the guardrail, which was laying on top of his chest. “It was hugging me and I couldn’t really breathe,” he said.
Burchett struggled to move it slightly, finally catching his breath. “I immediately closed my eyes and started praying,” he said.
As volunteer firefighters were arriving at the scene, so too were good Samaritans who worked together to try and lift up the guardrail to free Burchett. A witness called Burchett’s mother and father, a nurse and retired police officer, respectively. They rushed to the scene, where Burchett’s father helped lift the guardrail off and pull his son from the wreckage.
“I’m just eternally grateful to God and then everyone that helped down there to get him out,” said Jeff Burchett.
Filled with gratitude after being treated for their injuries, Burchett and Fisher went home to spend the holidays with their families. “It’s incredible, really a Christmas miracle,” said Jimmy Burchett. “I’m just blessed that we were able to get out.”