Fort Worth

Survivor Trapped in Pickup Recalls Horror of I-35W Crash

'I got hit I don't know how many times,' victim says

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A man who survived the crash on Interstate 35W in Fort Worth that killed six people Thursday said he thought he would die more than once.

Tim Mills was delivering a load of lumber when he suddenly found himself in the middle of the mangled mess.

He was one of the first victims.

"When I came up there was probably 20 cars in front of me. They weren't hit yet,” Mills said.

He was slowing his extended-cab pickup down but the traffic behind him was still coming at full-speed, he said.

“That's when I got tapped a few times from that car behind me,” he said. “That's when the semis came through. And just took us all out."

He was struck by one semi, then another, and he’s not sure how many other vehicles.

It was a slow-motion disaster, and it kept getting worse, he said.

"Once people topped that hill, we were blind to them. They were coming over there 60 miles an hour,” Mills said. “I got hit I don't know how many times. I couldn't tell you.”

Miraculously, he said, the second semi blocked anybody else from hitting him or the other victims up front.

"He put his truck into the wall and he turned it sideways and he wedged in between the concrete barriers,” Mills said. “And all these cars, you could hear them hitting, wham, wham!”

Mills was trapped between an airbag, his steering wheel, and a door that was wedged shut.

Other victims were all around him.

"The noises, the screaming, people in pain,” he recalled. “It was nothing I've experienced before."

First responders showed up quickly, he said.

Overwhelmed, they put two other victims, including a man bleeding from his head, into the back of his pickup because somehow, his heater was still running.

"Whoever had warm spots they were asking if they could get in your vehicle,” he said.

The three strangers all tried to comfort each other.

"They were very nice people,” he said. “I think we all tried to help each other out there."

He said the first responders got there quickly and did a great job.

"I mean they were there. They were digging us out, you know,” Mills said. “I just thank them so much."

Still, he was trapped for two or three hours while they tended to the more seriously injured.

Finally, a police officer came up -- with a pocketknife.

"We cut the airbag,” Mills said. “And that's how I, you know, was able to get out of the truck."

With his driver's door still wedged shut, he got out by crawling out the back.

Mills was able to meet his wife Diane at a nearby community center where he and others were taken by bus.

He went to the hospital with neck and shoulder pain but seems to be OK.

"It was crazy,” Mills said. “It's the craziest thing I've ever experienced. I really didn't think I was going to make it out to tell you the truth. When that semi hit me and put me up against the other semi, I thought that was it."

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