Car plunges off Highway 27 bridge

Car plunges off Highway 27 bridge

June 3rd, 2012 by Steve Hardy in Local Regional News

Ronnie Craig of Wick's Wrecker Service looks at the scene Sunday afternoon where a Mercedes SUV apparently went over the railing on Highway 27 southbound and landed next to the railroad tracks near the Manning Street exit. Emergency workers extracted a seriously injured man from the overturned car.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

A seriously injured man was pulled from his crashed SUV Sunday afternoon below the railroad bridge on U.S. Highway 27 near the Manning Street exit.

Emergency personnel stripped seats out of the blue four-door Mercedes SUV and used jaws of life to pull Samuel Anderson, 36, from the wreckage. The car was upside-down and sitting in a puddle of muddy water, its windows smashed, body twisted and axles bowed.

Police were called around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, but they don't know how long the driver was trapped in the crashed car. One police officer at the scene said Anderson was conscious, but could not tell responders when the accident happened.

"He acted real dehydrated," one officer said.

"He could have been out here since last night. We just don't know," she added.

Chattanooga police spokesman Nathan Hartwig said Anderson is in serious condition.

After being pulled from the wreck, the man was caked in mud and debris and was seen moving slightly, but his eyes were closed and he was not observed talking.

Investigators are still trying to determine what led to the crash. The railing along the highway was bent, but only slightly. There is also a packed dirt hill used by construction crews leading down from the road to the car, which police were seen checking, but it is unclear if the driver rolled down the hill or dropped straight over the bridge where the vehicle was discovered.

The muddy car sported a Marion County license plate and was packed with clothes and other luggage, scattered in the accident.