Veteran left with punctured lung and broken ribs after tripod thrown from highway overpass crashes through car's windshield
California Highway Patrol arrested 32-year-old Matthew Adam Thomas in connection to the incident, who had stolen the tripod from a Caltrans survey crew working nearby
A volunteer van driver and a veteran he was transporting had a close brush with death after a tripod came crashing through their windshield as they were making their way to an airport this past Thursday, May 17.
According to KCRA, Tim Page, a Navy veteran and a volunteer with the El Dorado Veteran Resources, was making his way to the Mather Airport from Sacramento International Airport via Interstate 5 with a veteran he had picked up when the tripod smashed through their windshield.
While the plan was initially to pick up another veteran from Mather and then head to Placerville, the tripod ensured the pair had to take a detour to the hospital. According to Page's description, the incident felt "like a dream".
"I saw a yellow something coming out of the corner of my eye," he explained. "When it hit the windshield, I ducked and kind of bent over, a little late of course. And when I straightened up and looked over, that's when I saw this thing through the windshield," adding, "It was like a dream, for lack of a better description."
The tripod had gone right through the veteran's lung and come out the other side, leaving him with a partially punctured lung and broken ribs. "It was very scary," Page said. "And of course, seeing it with no blood spurting out was great, but at the same time, injuries don't always have blood."
After emergency medical services arrived at the scene, both men were taken to the UC Davis Medical Center for treatment. It was reported that the injured veteran, who has not been identified, is in stable condition.
Authorities suspect 32-year-old Matthew Adam Thompson was the one who threw the tripod into traffic from the 2nd Street overpass having initially stolen it from a Caltrans survey crew working near Neasham Circle and Front Street.
Jim Young, a deputy with the California Highway Patrol, explained that Thompson had been caught on video stealing the tripod from the business on the same day. He confirmed the 32-year-old was apprehended on Front Street roughly three hours after the incident.
"Our sergeant, after a brief foot chase, along with another officer who was on the scene with him, was able to actually take him into custody," he said, adding, "We want to make sure that when we put this case together, we do determine that it's him, that he does get the punishment that is fitting for this."
Thompson, who had an active warrant out for his arrest, has so far been charged with resisting a peace officer. He is expected to face attempted murder charges in connection to the tripod incident.
As for Page, he said he was relieved because he knows things could have turned out considerably worse. "I could've lost control of the van. We both could've been out in traffic. I mean, there's numerous things that could have happened but didn't," he told KCRA. You know, life's a wonderful thing when you don't look at the bad part of life, you know, the miracles of life are great."
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