"I heard a crunch, and suddenly I was flying through the air."
That's how Dana Miller, a 45-year-old from Eldridge, Iowa, described being hit by a semi while driving on I-80 last week, causing his pickup truck to go airborne, hit a squad car and land in a ditch.
"It all happened so fast," Miller told KWQC-TV. "I didn't know what was happening until I was in the ditch."
Iowa State Patrol officials say Miller merged into the left lane and was slowing down as he approached another crash in the right lane when he was struck by the semi.
Surprisingly, both Miller and the driver of the semi, 49-year-old Michael Smith of Arlington, Iowa, walked away with minor injuries. An Iowa state trooper who was inside his patrol car when it was struck was briefly hospitalized and released. Smith was cited for failure to maintain control of his vehicle.
A dash cam video released by the Johnson County Sheriff's Office shows Miller's truck barreling into the crash scene after being rear-ended, clipping the back of the Iowa state trooper's vehicle and narrowly missing a pair of deputies who were investigating the other crash.
"When I saw the video, it did not look like me," Miller said. "I thought, 'Who in the heck survived that?' I thought it was odd."
Meanwhile, Iowa police are reminding distracted drivers to focus on the road.
"This is just a glaring example of how close we came to losing [the three troopers] all because a driver of a semi chose not to slow down when approaching a crash scene full of vehicles and emergency lights," Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek told KWWL-TV.