When a massive pile-up on eastern Oregon's Interstate 84 caused two semi tractor trailers to slide on a nasty patch of black ice and collide, 27-year-old Kaleb Whitby's truck was stuck between them. Despite the fact that Kaleb's Chevy Silverado was completely smashed between the two big rigs, he walked away with only minor scratches.
"Thank God that I'm still alive," the Washington state resident told OregonLive.com, realizing that God must have saved him from certain death for a reason. "Now I've got to go figure out why."
The Christian man was trapped for 30 minutes inside the wreckage of his pickup truck on Saturday during a 26-car pile-up that caused a long stretch of the interstate to be closed for most of the day while crews cleaned up the wreckage and diesel fuel that spilled from several semi trucks. Although two trucks were carrying hazardous materials, their cargo didn't spill. A total of 12 people were treated for injuries at a nearby Baker City hospital, but luckily, there were no fatalities.
Oregon State Police Sgt. Kyle Hove told reporters that there was a sheet of ice on the road when he arrived. "A couple of the trucks came upon the black ice, and they jackknifed and crashed into each other. And it just continued to escalate," Hove told the Associated Press.
But the fact that Whitby sustained little more than scratches that required "two Band-Aids" is what has most people astonished. In a phone interview with Fox News, Whitby describes what he did to survive when the impact hit.
"To tell you the truth, I can't tell you how I did it," he said. "I mean, I closed my eyes and held on to that wheel as tight as I could, made sure I said my prayers."
Whitby is a farmer from Pasco, Washington with a two-year-old son and a wife who is currently due to give birth in June with their second child. "All I could think about was my wife and my son," he continued. "I was hoping it wasn't my time and praying that I could get through it."
Whitby described the scene of the accident and how it happened, explaining that the fog was so thick that he slowed down off of a semi truck that he was following. But the next time he saw that truck through the fog, it was jack-knifed across all lanes of the freeway and the Washington man had no where to go but straight into the truck's trailer.
After that impact, Whitby turned to look behind him and saw another 18-wheeler barreling toward him. "I just braced and hoped that everything would be all right," he said.
The freezing rain has caused multi-car pileups all across the Northwestern and Northeastern United States this weekend, including one in Philadelphia that claimed the lives of three people, and one in Connecticut that claimed the life of an 88-year-old woman in New Haven.