'Hand of God' credited as pair survive crash

November 19, 1993|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer

"The hand of God was there," Ronald Drayer said after his pickup truck was rammed twice by a tractor-trailer rig, flipped and slid across four lanes of Interstate 95 on its roof yesterday morning.

Mr. Drayer and his girlfriend, Michelle Reilly, crawled out of the wreckage largely unhurt -- much to their amazement and that of onlookers who had stopped at the accident scene below Caton Avenue southwest of Baltimore.

"I was in my seat belt, upside down at the time," Mr. Drayer, a

41-year-old Domino Sugar employee from Chase in eastern Baltimore County, said last night. "Everything looked topsy-turvy. When it stopped, I was just waiting for something else to hit us. That's what amazes me -- we crossed four lanes on the roof."

Mr. Drayer was driving Ms. Reilly, 28, from her Essex home to see a doctor in Eldersburg about 10 a.m., when the tractor-trailer hit the back of his 1992 Toyota pickup.

"I felt the back end lift up," he said. "I thought I rode over something really large. Then I saw the truck plow into me from the side. I lost complete control. I was holding the wheel straight and didn't even know I was sideways."

That second impact, as the pickup truck apparently spun around, knocked it on the roof and sent it sliding across the roadway. And it may have been airborne briefly, glancing off a minivan driven by James Moran of Landenberg, Pa.

Maryland Toll Facilities Police said all were treated at the scene -- for minor injuries.

The truck driver, who did not stop after the crash, was being sought by the police last night. The only description Mr. Drayer could offer was that the rig appeared to be white.

"We were just sliding upside down forever," said Ms. Reilly, who is laid off from her job as a bookkeeper. "I couldn't believe that we were OK."

"Everybody said they couldn't believe that we crawled out of it," Mr. Drayer added. "The police officer said he wasn't a religious man, but that we should go to church -- it was things like this that made him think there was something out there looking after us."

Mr. Drayer agreed.

"I just joined a church a couple months back, and my girlfriend's going back to church. I think that had a lot to do with it. The hand of God was there."

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