The following story was written by Stafford, M and published January 29, 2003 on page A4 of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Although it does sound a little unbelievable, I am willing to post it to show the importance of wearing your seat belt.

A True News Story

Teen Ejected In Wreck Saved By Utility Wires

A teenager was catapulted at least 35 feet in the air during an auto crash, but grabbed onto overhead utility wires like an action hero and dangled for about 20 minutes before a rescue crew brought him down by ladder.

Joe R. Thompson III, 18, was treated for bruises and scratches at the hospital and released. Thompson lost control of his Jeep after another car failed to yield the right-of-way and suddenly turned in front of him. Thompson’s Jeep clipped the other car and rolled over and over, possibly five times, witnesses said.

The Jeep’s fiberglass top was ripped off. Thompson, who was not wearing a seat belt, flew through the air, bounced off three power lines and fell onto a telephone wire and grounding wire. His leg caught on one wire and he grabbed for the other.

“I just kept saying a prayer over and over,” he said.

The driver of the other car, Justin B. Elam, immediately stopped to check on Thompson.

“I just started saying, ‘Dude, turn off my car.’ He looked around at first, but he couldn’t find me. Then he looked up and saw me,” Thompson said.

Meanwhile, Thompson’s father had rushed to the scene.

“I was told he was hanging on for dear life,” Joe Thompson II said. “I didn’t know they meant that he was literally hanging on for dear life.”

“We asked Joe how long he could hold on,” and he said, “I can hold on as long as it takes.” His arms were turning blue because it was cold, but otherwise he was fine, the elder Thompson said. “For my son and for others, this is a remarkable story to remind everyone to wear their seat belts!”


Although the story ends without a fatality, it is easy to see how it could have ended differently. The most probable alternate ending would be to remove the power lines which only leaves you with concrete to grab on to.


Buckle up so you can be around to see tomorrow.