STARK COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — Two men in Northeast Ohio survived a crash that sent a guardrail slicing through the middle of their car — a fortunate turn of events that one of them is calling a “Christmas miracle.”
Jimmy Burchett, 23, was driving to a family celebration on Christmas Eve with his best friend, Anthony Fisher, when Burchett’s Dodge Charger suddenly slid off the ice- and snow-covered road in Stark County. The Charger struck a guardrail, which went through the car and exited out the back window.
“We saw it last-second. We thought it just was going to hit,” Burchett told Nexstar’s WJW. “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 told WJW 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,” Burchett said.
As volunteer firefighters were arriving at the scene, so too were a group of good Samaritans who worked together to try and lift up the guardrail to free Burchett. A witness was able to call Burchett’s mother, a nurse, and his father, a retired police officer. 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 of there,” said Jeff Burchett.
After being treated for their injuries, Burchett and Fisher are now able to go home and spend the holidays with their families, filled with a sense of gratitude.
“It’s incredible, really a Christmas miracle. So, I’m just blessed that we were able to get out of it,” said Jimmy Burchett.