The PJ Tatler

SUV Launches 60 Feet Off of Bridge, Lands Upright

A pretty remarkable story of survival from Hackensack, New Jersey. An SUV swerved to avoid another car on a bridge, climbed up a snowbank, and was catapulted 60 feet to the pavement below.


It not only landed upright, but the two passengers survived with only minor injuries.

From the Associated Press:

An SUV driver swerving to avoid striking another vehicle on a highway Friday hit a snowbank along a guardrail and catapulted 60 feet off a bridge. Incredibly, authorities say, the two occupants suffered only minor injuries, and the vehicle landed upright.

The Toyota Rav4 was headed east on Interstate 80 when the accident occurred at around 7:15 a.m. in Hackensack, police said.

The driver, 25-year-old Elizabeth Wolthoff of Bergenfield, veered sideways after her vehicle was cut off, officials said. The SUV then hit a snowbank that formed after plows had pushed excess snow up against the guardrail.

The SUV flew off the bridge and landed upright beneath the Hackensack River bridge, missing the river by about 40 feet. Wolthoff and her passenger, 25-year-old Rebecca Winslow, also of Bergenfield, called 911.

“The snowbank served almost as a ramp,” Hackensack Police Director Michael Mordaga told The Record newspaper. “They’re very lucky the way the vehicle landed.”

State Police Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Williams said both women were wearing their seat belts.

Firefighter Michael Thomasey, one of about 20 firefighters who responded to the accident, told the newspaper that Winslow asked where she was and remembered the crash.

“I told her: ‘You’re in Hackensack. Don’t worry. We’re here. We’ll get you out of the car,'” he said. “‘Just sit tight. We’re going to work for a few minutes. It’s going to be noisy. We’re going to get you out of here.'”


It’s amazing that both women were conscious after falling that far. The SUV, however, won’t be taking the kids to soccer practice anytime soon.


(The photo is of the car after the Jaws of Life go through with it.)

If I were to interview those women, I’d ask what went through their minds in the few seconds it took to drop 60 feet. What would go through your mind?

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