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Colorado organ donor's body saves driver after crash leaves hearse dangling over canyon

Organ donor's body saves driver as crash leaves hearse dangling over canyon
Organ donor's body saves driver as crash leaves hearse dangling over canyon 02:34

It's a story so strange it's almost hard to believe, but there it is: someone was able to save at least one, if not nine lives after they passed away here in Colorado. 

The snowy night of Jan. 29, 2023, was a difficult one to drive to for Hubbard and Son's funeral home service, mostly because of the other drivers. One of the company's employees was transferring a body in the back of a hearse from Grand Junction to the front range for organ donation, but told Colorado State Patrol a driver in a red Durango went speeding by him on his way up towards the Eisenhower Tunnel.

He said he switched lanes to get out of the way of the erratic driver, and lost control in the snowstorm around 3 a.m., hurtling towards the barrier on the edge of the road. 

His hearse crashed through the barrier, teetering over the side of Interstate 70, and a fatal drop, but came to a stop, front wheels suspended over the canyon. While the driver and his family declined an on camera interview, they told CBS News Colorado the weight from the body in the back of the car likely kept the car on the road, and therefore stopped the hearse from hurtling over the side of I-70. He said it saved his life, no doubt. 

Silverthorne Police Department

"That's a lucky mother*****r right there," a responding law enforcement officer is heard saying while walking towards the vehicle, suspended as if frozen in time, almost perfectly balanced half-on-half-off.

Cheryl Talley, director of communications for Donor Alliance was not able to comment specifically on this case, but said that all organ donors have chosen to do something spectacular to help out their fellow human beings.

"Being an organ donor and registering as an organ donor is the most generous thing that somebody can do, is giving the gift of life to somebody who has no chance at a life without that possible transplant," Talley said. 

It's easy to become a organ, eye and tissue donor. If you aren't already -- and Donor Alliance said 66% of Coloradans are -- you can make the switch to save a life very simply. 

"We always need more to register because we'd like to see 100% of people in Colorado registering to be organ donors because the need is so great," Talley said. "Nearly 1,500 people are waiting for lifesaving transplants in Colorado today."

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