Ada man survives fatal pile-up in Indiana

7:51 PM, Jan 24, 2014   |    comments
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ada man survives pile up

ADA, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Grand Rapids area man is counting his blessings after he survived a fatal pile-up along I-94 in Michigan City, Indiana.

"I mean, if you saw the car I climbed out of, it was horrific," says Jeff Rennell. The 48-year-old Ada man has seen the pictures on the news and remembers every detail of the crash.

Rennell was heading home from Chicago Thursday afternoon and says the highway didn't seem that bad. "But the snow came across the road and when it cleared, there was a jack-knifed semi blocking three lanes of I-94."

Jeff hit the brakes and slid on the ice. He spun around and hit a semi, head-on.

"My right door was here by my legs, the semi's radiator was in front of my face. My feet were almost shackled together and I couldn't move them. There were paramedics, 15 guys trying to get me out of that car for three hours. They said 'We're not leaving you until we get you out of this car.'"

Those paramedics worked into the night to get Jeff out of his vehicle. He was airlifted to the hospital with hypothermia but no serious injuries. "If you saw where I was in that car, it's miraculous. That's why you live every day to say, 'You know what? I woke up. It's a good day.'"

One of the things that might have helped Jeff is the radiator from the semi; it helped keep him warm and his hypothermia wasn't as bad as it could of been. Jeff says he is still very sore but is just glad to be home with his wife and kids.

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