The driver of a Ford Mustang that was hit by five other cars after it spun out in the middle of the 5 freeway credited his car’s roll bars and other racing safety features with saving his life.
John Crockett, 43, of Anaheim, was on his way into Los Angeles on Wednesday, where he works as an engineer, when he was caught in the middle of an accident that involved up to a half-dozen vehicles.
As he watched an SUV slam into his driver’s side door, he later recalled, one thought passed through his mind: “Gee, my kids are sure going to miss me.”
The crash, which took place on the northbound 5 near La Palma Avenue at 6:35 a.m., caused minor injuries.
Crockett needed 17 staples in his arms, and suffered some bruised ribs and a cut to his eye; a woman driving a van knocked over in the crash was also taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Afterward, four disabled vehicles sat at the scene.
But there were two other vehicles involved, Crockett said, one that clipped him and sent him into a spinout, and a white SUV that broadsided him and drove off.
The driver of a silver Toyota Tacoma whose left front end was damaged in the crash told a California Highway Patrol officer that the crash started when Crockett’s Mustang lost control after entering the freeway at Brookhurst Street.
Crockett, though, said he lost control after he was clipped coming off the onramp.
He counted at least five cars that hit him as he spun around, but the main damage was from the SUV that T-boned him, he said.
The SUV was white and the front end looked like that of a Nissan Pathfinder, he said.
No SUV was mentioned in initial news accounts of the accident, and none stopped at the scene afterward, so Crockett put together a collage of photos showing that the other disabled cars couldn’t have broadsided him.
“The damage to the other the vehicles doesn’t match at all the damage to the driver’s side door,” he said.
Crockett credited his Mustang’s four-point roll bars and the padding around his head with saving his life.
He’s raced the Mustang at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, where he blew up the engine during one recent race.
After that, the car was in the shop for seven months while he had a $15,000 custom engine installed. Crockett was still breaking it in when the car was totaled Wednesday, he said.
After the crash, Crockett got out of his car and stood by the center divider, stunned, when a pickup truck blew through the accident scene at full speed, missing him by just a foot, he said.
“That was scarier than anything during the accident,” he said.
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