I-55 wreck: Utah truck driver chokes on mint, goes off cliff, walks away

Thursday, May 14, 2009

PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- A Utah man considers himself lucky after falling 20 feet off a cliff near Interstate 55 Tuesday night.

Danny L. Coult, 56, of Tooele, Utah, was driving his 2009 International ProStar semi on a trip from Dyersburg, Tenn., to his hometown around 11:25 p.m. when he began choking on a mint. He veered off the right northbound interstate lane near mile marker 136 and his vehicle fell off the roadway.

"When I went off the cliff, I thought I was dead," said Coult, a driver with Sun Products Corp. "But I walked away from the accident."

Coult was able to crawl out of his truck soon after the crash.

He was taken by ambulance to Perry County Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for a few scratches and bruised ribs. Coult remained in the hospital overnight because, he said, he did not have any other place to sleep.

Andy King, owner of Andy's Garage in Perryville, said it took two wreckers to transport the vehicle to his shop. The truck was totaled.

Coult, who spent much of Wednesday morning and afternoon at Andy's Garage, was unsure when he would return home. He was waiting for someone to transport him to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport so he could fly back to Tooele, which is near Salt Lake City.

"I'm just glad to be alive," Coult said. "It will be good to see my family again."

At the time of the accident Coult was not wearing his seat belt.

"I can't stress enough how important it is to wear your seat belt," said Sgt. Julie Scerine of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "He's pretty fortunate to survive a fall like that."

bblackwell@semissourian.com

388-3628

Pertinent address:

309 N. Main St., Perryville, MO

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