SUV Catapults 60 Feet Off Bridge, Lands Upright; Everyone OK

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) -
A SUV that catapulted off an I-80 bridge overhead lies Friday in a heap along the banks of the Hackensack River. (AP Photo/The Record, Marko Georgiev)
A SUV that catapulted off an I-80 bridge overhead lies Friday in a heap along the banks of the Hackensack River. (AP Photo/The Record, Marko Georgiev)

An SUV driver swerving to avoid striking another vehicle on a highway on Friday hit a snowbank along a guardrail and catapulted 60 feet off a bridge. Incredibly, the vehicle landed upright and the two occupants suffered only minor injuries.

The Toyota Rav4, driven by Elizabeth Wolthoff, landed on I-80 beneath the Hackensack River bridge, missing the river by about 40 feet. Wolthoff and her passenger, Rebecca Winslow, called 911. Both women were wearing seat belts.

“The snowbank served almost as a ramp,” Hackensack Police Director Michael Mordaga said. “They’re very lucky the way the vehicle landed.”

Firefighter Michael Thomasey, one of about 20 firefighters who responded to the accident, said that Winslow asked where she was and remembered the crash.

“It’s just shocking that you could fall that far in a car and be awake when everybody gets there, telling us what hurts,” Thomasey said.