EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Harrowing new details are emerging Thursday about a 66-vehicle pileup that shut down a section of Interstate 80 in Clinton County for two days in December 2020.
On December 16th, dozens of vehicles, mostly tractor trailers, piled up in a crash caused by severe winter weather conditions. Nearly a month later, Eyewitness News is hearing firsthand accounts from survivors of the crash that left two people dead.
“Yeah I was scared. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna come out of there or not,” Les Neverman, a long haul truck driver said.
Neverman was driving his tractor trailer back home to Wisconsin when the crash happened. He suffered a concussion and a broken leg in the wreckage and was temporarily trapped in his cab once he came to.
“I tried the door to see if it would open and it wouldn’t,” Neverman said. “The window wouldn’t open, so then, you know, you choke up a little bit there. You’re caged in there.”
While Neverman was pulled out and stretchered to an ambulance, Bianca Armbruster wasn’t as lucky. Traveling home to Nebraska to surprise her family for the holidays, she was trapped in her Jeep for hours before a paramedic could get to her.
“There were multiple tractor trailers on top of her Jeep, which was already kind of folded in half,” Joe Hanstein, a paramedic at UPMC Williamsport said. “We had to go through a maze of tractor trailers and cars just to get access to her.”
Armbruster says she doesn’t remember anything from the crash or drive, only waking up in the hospital a week later. As she now prepares to leave the hospital, nearly a month later, it is setting in just how fortunate she was.
“I’m extremely thankful, that, you know, I had injuries but I’m still alive,” Armbruster said. “It’s crazy to me and my heart just goes out to the families of those two.”
That sentiment is fully shared by Neverman.
“It was horrendous enough that I shouldn’t even be here. I really shouldn’t. So I got very lucky. Somebody was looking out for me because I really should not have lived through what I went through,” he said.
Neverman and Armbruster have spent the last month rehabilitating in the hospital. Les is expected to be discharged Friday, Bianca, sometime later this month.