This is for the Pennsylvania State Police, EMT Rescue Teams, American Red Cross volunteers, towing companies, ambulance services, school bus driver and all other rescue parties.
On Feb. 25, my wife and I were traveling on I-79 South to Pittsburgh in anticipation of celebrating my 75th birthday and my son's; they fall on the same day.
As we approached mile marker 132, we were suddenly engulfed in a freak snowstorm, roads covered with snow instantaneously and the massive winds made visibility near zero. When we reached mile marker 133, we came upon multiple cars and a truck piled up in front of us blocking the entire two southbound lanes. We braked and came to a stop, but within seconds, others came from the rear slamming into us over and over again. When the smashing was over we were hidden amongst 30 passenger vehicles, a tanker truck and a tractor-trailer.
We were continuously whiplashed in our seatbelts by the oncoming vehicles slamming into us. Upon the first strike from the rear our family cocker spaniel, Tabbie, catapulted from the back seat making her airborne and slammed her into the windshield. My wife reached up, grabbed her, holding onto her until the slamming was over. Unfortunately our Tabbie died that day. We both sustained serious whiplash and seatbelt bruises - we thank God that we always wear our seatbelts.
We were driving a 2010 Chrysler Town and County that was a total loss as we are sure was the case with many others involved. We are still dumbfounded as to why our air bags never deployed. The Pennsylvania State Police, American Red Cross, ambulances and EMTs were on the scene in a matter of minutes. We wish to thank the EMT who was off duty on that day. He came around to the cars asking if he could help before any rescue help arrived - wish I knew his name. We want to give all of these wonderful individuals undying praise, gratitude and admiration for their wonderful care. All of the help that arrived seemed like angels dropping from the sky checking to see if we were all OK.
The rescue parties were taking the most seriously injured out of their vehicles and administering medical care or transporting them to hospitals. The vehicles involved were piled so close together. These brave individuals were crawling on hands and knees dragging stretchers over the hoods and roofs of the smashed vehicles, ice, snow, broken glass and debris to assist the wounded. We thank God that there are people like them that are willing to enter these occupations and provide emergency care. All of us involved were suddenly calmed by the miraculous recovery that was going on around us. These wonderful and courageous individuals are expertly trained to take the fear out of a frightening situation and gain control to accomplish their jobs ... we say congratulations - job well done!
We miss our Tabbie.
(Carl and LouAnn Malta are residents of Jamestown.)