Call it the truck that came from nowhere.
That's how other drivers involved in Wednesday's three-car accident at 13th Street and Veterans Parkway described their shock as a westbound blue Chevy S-10 pickup barreled into the intersection, smacked a northbound Kia Spectra and flipped over a Nissan Altima stopped in the parkway's southbound, left-turn lane.
The truck then slammed down on its driver's side just inches from the Altima driven by Stacey Keidel-Wobert, who had no idea where the pickup that flew right in front of her face came from.
Accident investigators designating the pickup "Vehicle #1" said Keidel-Wobert told them it "came from nowhere and rolled directly over her front hood," and she "was unsure of the events that led to Vehicle #1 rolling over her vehicle."
Kia driver Anita Cheshire similarly was mystified, telling police "she was traveling north on Veterans Parkway when out of nowhere her vehicle was struck on the rear right side."
But the pickup driven by Grover Gibson did not come from nowhere. It came from a liquor store at 10th Avenue and Cusseta Road, where Gibson had stopped for his two passengers to shop, and "that was the last thing he remembers," police reported.
His passengers told investigators Gibson doesn't drink, but he has seizures, for which he takes medication. Apparently a seizure is what caused him to race through a red light at 11:31 a.m. Wednesday, precipitating the crash.
Police said the truck stank of alcohol, but not the driver. Passenger William Tanton had been drinking a beer, and passenger Jimmy Robinson had been drinking vodka, officers said. All three were injured, and firefighters had to free the driver and a passenger from the wreckage.
Robinson was treated and released from The Medical Center. On Thursday, Gibson was listed in satisfactory condition, but Tanton was in intensive care, his condition unsatisfactory, the hospital said.
Also coming seemingly from nowhere Wednesday was a swarm of soldiers who rushed into the street to try to free the three men from the wreckage. They and other witnesses got one man out before paramedics arrived.
Here's the initial report of Wednesday's crash:
Three men packed into the cab of a blue Chevy S-10 pickup were westbound on 13th Street approaching Veterans Parkway today when the driver had a seizure and floored the accelerator, so the truck sped into the intersection, T-boned a northbound Kia and flipped over another car before coming to rest on its side, witnesses said.
The impact left one man pinned in the truck while bystanders rushed in to get the other two, said a witness identifying himself only as "James," who works at the Midas muffler shop on the intersection's northwest corner. He said he heard tires squealing and looked up to see the truck in mid-air before it crashed to the pavement and came to rest on the driver's side, beside a maroon Nissan Altima, he said.
The Altima, which was stopped in 13th Street's southbound, left-turn lane, had only minor damage to its hood where the truck flipped over it. The young woman driving it was uninjured. Two people who were in the red Kia were standing outside their vehicle after the impact, James said.
But the three men who were in the truck appeared seriously hurt, the witness said. Two were dangling outside the driver's window as witnesses ran in, including a swarm of soldiers who wanted to turn the truck upright to free the pinned man, but were persuaded to await paramedics, James said.
He described the immediate aftermath:
"When I got there, two them were hanging out the window, on the asphalt, but the truck wasn't on them," he said. "Both of them were screaming, and I was trying to talk to them, to make sure they were OK."
Then he saw a third man's hand rise from the wreckage, and then the man's head, James said. So he and others pulled that man from the truck and carried him to the roadside.
"Then I went back over there; I climbed up on the side of the truck and reached down there, and a soldier had jumped up there," James said. They tried to rescue a second man: "We were holding onto him, and he (the soldier) unhooked the seat belt to get the guy out of the seat belt, and by that time the fire truck pulled up and they started cutting the top off."
James walked back to the man on the roadside. "I walked over here to check on him, and he said the guy driving had a seizure, and floored the truck, and the guy in the center was trying to steer around all the traffic, and they caught that little red car right there and went to flipping."
The three men were in a truck cab with only two bucket seats, he said.