Soft, freshly plowed soil may have saved the life of a teen driver thrown from a pickup, which landed upright above her Saturday, a state trooper said.
The 16-year-old Sandia girl was found beneath the 2001 Dodge Ram extended cab pickup she was driving after it rolled about 9:45 a.m. on a curve in western Nueces County, Texas Department of Public Safety officials said. She was driving south on Farm-to-Market Road 70 near County Road 101, between Agua Dulce and Orange Grove when both front tires went off the roadway on a curve, Trooper James Burdett said.
She overcorrected, skidded 180 degrees off the road into soft dirt in a freshly plowed field where the vehicle flipped, he said. The teen, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the pickup, which landed on its wheels above her, Burdett said. "It was quite a feat," he said. "She was on her right side beneath the drive shaft." He did not believe she was exceeding the posted 70 mph speed limit on the roadway, but didn't slow enough to safely maneuver the curve.
Emergency responders dug her out and she was taken by helicopter to Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial with non-life-threatening injuries. "She seemed to be in pretty stable condition, awake and talking, with just some scrapes on her legs," said Dan Saltarelli, flight nurse with HALO-Flight air ambulance service. "That dirt was pretty soft, which may have helped."