Orlando man miraculously survives van being crushed by falling scrap metal in bizarre traffic crash

by: WFTV Web Staff Updated:

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - When 36-year-old Jesus Armando Escobar was exiting off Interstate 4 onto State Road 528, he had no idea what was about to happen on the overpass above him.

Antonio Santiago Wharton, 33, of Kissimmee, was driving a Mack truck loaded down with scrap metal at about 7:35 a.m. Saturday.

As he negotiated the curve, he lost control of the truck, hit the guardrail and overturned the vehicle, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

© 2017 Cox Media Group.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.

A 7,000 pound metal pipe flew off Wharton’s truck, tumbled off the overpass and landed squarely on the roof of Escobar’s Pontiac Van.

The force of the impact crushed the driver side roof of the van, troopers said. 

Somehow, Escobar, the father of three, was able to walk away from the crash with only minor injuries.

If he had been sitting in any other seat, he would have likely been killed, officials said.

Theodore Olson, with AATR Orlando, said he's seen a lot of wrecks, but nothing like this.

"I've seen crushed cars before, but nothing in this kind of circumstance, where, like, they were up on on upper bridge and it rolled out of a container and crushed a car," Olson said. "I thought it was a fatality, to be honest with you. But they came out and said, 'Nope, he's only got scratches.'"

Wharton was ticketed for careless driving, troopers said.

Escobar was released from the hospital Saturday night. His wife told Channel 9's Lauren Seabrook that he doesn't remember the crash.