As It Happens

FedEx driver survives 23-metre fall after stopping to help stranded motorist

FedEx driver Jeremiah Cribb stopped to help stranded motorists but ended up jumping off a bridge to avoid oncoming traffic. Somehow he survived the 23-metre fall. But without health benefits, he is struggling to pay his medical bills.

Jeremiah Cribb is struggling to pay his medical bills; as a contractor for FedEx, he doesn't have benefits

Jeremiah Cribb (Submitted by Jeremiah Cribb)
Listen7:28

Story Transcript

Somehow Jeremiah Cribb managed to survive the fall. But he doesn't know how he will manage to pay his medical bills.

On Wednesday, the 24-year-old North Carolina man was working an overnight shift driving a FedEx truck under contract with another company. He saw a driver was stranded on the side of an interstate bridge so he stopped to help.

He called 9-1-1 and warned oncoming traffic by turning on his hazard lights. Then he saw the 18-wheeler truck barrelling down on him.

"He was riding pretty fast," Cribb told As It Happens host Carol Off. "I was telling everybody to get out of the way because I knew he was going to hit the car — and that's exactly what happened."

Stopped to help 

To avoid the truck, Cribb jumped over the bridge thinking there was a grassy median on the other side. Instead, he found himself in free fall and ended up plunging 23 metres until he landed on a sandbar below.

"It was either that or jump in front of the tractor trailer," Cribb said. "There was nothing on the other side."

Cribb says he was so focused on helping the motorists that when he left his own vehicle he didn't even realize he was on the elevated bridge.

I never think or stop twice about helping somebody- Jeremiah Cribb  

"I didn't check my surroundings because all my energy and everything was focused on helping these people," Cribb said.

He blacked out when he hit the ground. But when he regained consciousness he started to assess how he felt and realized he could still move his body.

"I realized I wasn't paralyzed or anything," Cribb recalled. "I crawled to my phone and I was able to get it and get ready to call 9-1-1."

First call to his mom

The emergency services Cribb had called earlier were now turning their attention to him. Cribb says he saw their flashlights from above so he called his mother instead.

"I didn't know if anything was wrong with me internally. So, if I was dying slowly, and if I would have died out there, I mean, last person, last voice I wanted to hear was my mom's," Cribb said.

Cribb says no one else was injured in the accident. He is out of the hospital now but still facing a long recovery — and expensive medical bills. He suffered three broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung in the fall.

Knowing the medical costs, Cribb remembers the first thing he asked one of the paramedics was whether it was necessary for him to even go to the hospital.

"She said, 'Are you serious? You just jumped from something that is fatal. Like, you should be dead right now,'" Cribb said. 

"She was like, 'There is no question about it. You're getting in this ambulance.' I didn't argue with her. I was already in pain." 

Cribb's sister has started a Go Fund Me page to help her brother cover the cost of his medical bills. (Go Fund Me)

Cribb has started a Go Fund Me page to help raise money to cover some of his medical bills.

"I work with FedEx. But I work under a contractor. So I'm not entitled to the FedEx benefits," Cribb said. 

"They reached out to make sure the truck and trailers were OK, like they weren't involved in the accident. I mean, they made sure I was OK. But anything they're sending me about my medical and all that — I'm not getting any of that."

Now struggling to pay medical bills

In addition to the Go Fund Me, Cribb says he might start driving for Uber or Lyft once he starts feeling a bit better. 

"I'll do something that I could do sitting down that's not strenuous on my body to try to come up with some more money, some more income," Cribb said.

Despite his injuries and medical bills, Cribb says he knows he did the right thing and will continue to help others in the future, even if it means putting himself in danger.

"I never think or stop twice about helping somebody," Cribb said. "If I even had a last dollar to my name and I saw a homeless person and he was asking for some money, I don't care — he would get my last dollar."


Written by John McGill. Produced by Chris Harbord.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.