Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A driver's car soared 120 feet after vaulting off of a tow truck's ramp in Georgia

First responders who were clearing a crash on a Georgia highway witnessed a scary spectacle, when a motorist drove onto a tow truck's lowered ramp at speed.
AP via YouTube / Screenshot by NPR
First responders who were clearing a crash on a Georgia highway witnessed a scary spectacle, when a motorist drove onto a tow truck's lowered ramp at speed.

The wild scene was straight out of an action movie — but it was recorded by a police camera.

A tow truck had lowered its ramp to clear a car crash on a Georgia highway — but then a motorist came from behind and drove onto the ramp at speed. Her sedan launched high into the air, soaring some 120 feet before crashing back down onto the roadway.

The scary spectacle was captured on video by the body camera of a Lowndes County sheriff's deputy who was assisting with the initial crash on the westbound side of Georgia Highway 38, near Valdosta.

A 21-year-old woman from Tallahassee, Fla., was driving the sedan, according to police. She was taken to South Georgia Medical Center with what the incident report describes as suspected serious injuries. The crash took place on May 24, but it attracted new attention after the police video was released.

The footage shows a wrecker sitting in the eastbound left lane of the divided four-lane highway, across from where the deputy and others were working at a crash scene. A Nissan Altima is then seen coming from behind the wrecker on the road, where the posted speed limit is 65 mph. The car then drives onto the wrecker's ramp and vaults over the wrecker's cab.

The crash report diagrams the path a Nissan Altima took as it hit a tow truck and was vaulted 120 feet down the highway by the salvage vehicle's ramp.
/ Georgia State Patrol
/
Georgia State Patrol
The crash report diagrams the path a Nissan Altima took as it hit a tow truck and was vaulted 120 feet down the highway by the salvage vehicle's ramp.

The sedan twists in the air, landing on its side and roof and rolling after glancing off a car that was traveling in the right lane. The deputy shouts in surprise, then quickly reports the new emergency on his radio as he sprints toward the crash site. The Altima comes to rest right-side up, its front facing back up the road toward the truck.

The tow truck had its emergency lights on as it sat in the left lane, according to the incident report. That detail is not obvious from the video, as the vehicle doesn't have warning lights on its roof.

An emergency worker who had been walking in front of the tow truck in the grassy median narrowly escaped what could have been a serious injury, as the initial collision sent a massive hunk of debris flying past him. A sheriff's deputy who was on foot at the scene was hit by airborne debris and was taken to the hospital as a precaution, according to the report.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.