Car plunges off U.S. 27 bridge in Chattanooga

Car plunges off U.S. 27 bridge in Chattanooga

June 4th, 2012 by Steve Hardy in News

Ronnie Craig, of Wick's Wrecker Service, looks at the scene Sunday afternoon where a Mercedes SUV apparently went over the railing on U.S. Highway 27 southbound and landed next to the railroad tracks near the Manning Street exit. The driver was in critical condition Sunday night.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

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

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

Anderson was in critical condition Sunday evening, Chattanooga police spokesman Nathan Hartwig said in a statement.

Police were called around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, but they don't know how long Anderson was trapped in the crashed car. One police officer at the scene said that 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.

After being pulled from the wreck, the victim was caked in mud and debris and could be 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 Mercedes rolled down the hill or dropped straight over the bridge.

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