Man who miraculously survived I-94 crash shares his story of gratitude and hope

A man who was involved in a horrific crash on I-94 in Indiana last week has spoken out about his miraculous survival and the overwhelming support he has received online.

A terrifying ordeal

David Johnson, a 34-year-old father of two from Chicago, was driving to visit his parents in Michigan on December 29, 2023, when he encountered a sudden snowstorm on I-94 near La Porte County. He said he was following a semi-truck when he saw it lose control and jackknife across the highway. He tried to brake, but his car slid and crashed into the truck. He said he felt a sharp pain in his chest and then blacked out.

He woke up to find himself trapped in his car, surrounded by flames and smoke. He said he could hear other cars crashing and exploding around him. He said he thought he was going to die and prayed to God for help.

“I was scared. I was in shock. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I thought about my wife and my kids. I thought about my parents. I thought this was the end for me. I just cried out to God and asked him to save me,” he said.

A miraculous rescue

As he was losing consciousness, he said he heard a voice telling him to stay calm and that help was on the way. He said he felt someone pull him out of his car and drag him to safety. He said he later learned that it was Officer James Smith, a state trooper who was patrolling the area and witnessed the crash.

Man who miraculously survived I-94

Smith said he saw Johnson’s car on fire and decided to act quickly. He said he used his fire extinguisher to put out the flames and then broke the window to free Johnson. He said he carried him to his patrol car and called for an ambulance.

“I didn’t think twice. I just did what I had to do. I’m glad I was there at the right time and the right place. I’m glad he’s alive and well. He’s a very lucky man,” Smith said.

A grateful survivor

Johnson was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for a broken rib, a punctured lung, and a concussion. He said he was in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery. He said he was grateful to God, to Smith, and to all the people who helped him and prayed for him.

He said he was especially touched by the messages of support he received online, after his wife posted a photo of him in the hospital on social media. He said he received thousands of comments, likes, and shares from strangers who wished him well and thanked him for his service. He said he was a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He said he was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the online community, who also raised more than $50,000 for his medical bills and family expenses through a crowdfunding campaign.

“I can’t thank them enough. They are amazing. They are angels. They made me feel loved and appreciated. They gave me hope and strength. They are the reason I’m alive today,” he said.

A hopeful future

Johnson said he was looking forward to going home and spending time with his family. He said he was also planning to meet Smith in person and thank him for saving his life. He said he considered him a hero and a friend.

He said he hoped his story would inspire others to be grateful for their lives and to help others in need. He said he believed that God had a purpose for him and that he wanted to use his second chance to make a positive difference in the world.

“I’m blessed. I’m thankful. I’m hopeful. I want to live every day to the fullest. I want to be a better husband, a better father, a better son, a better person. I want to help others who are going through hard times. I want to share my story of gratitude and hope,” he said.

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