Most anyone who has been blessed to snatch a fresh chance of life out of the usually unforgiving jaws of death will tell you that experience brings a new perspective.
A New Jersey man who crawled out of the fireball that engulfed his mulch truck after being wrecked by a fuel tanker in an accident that killed another driver has no trouble telling people what his new perspective is: He is boldly thankful to God—and maybe also to an angel or two.
"God gave me another chance," Mario Quiroz, 53, of North Bergen, New Jersey, told a television interviewer. "I just think God gave me another chance to live."
State police said 24-year-old James Pinaire of Chatham Township, New Jersey, drove his Audi A4 into the path of a fuel tanker while getting onto Route 28 from the Garden State Parkway about 1 p.m. Saturday, CBS2-TV of New York reported. Both vehicles then hit the tractor-trailer driven by Quiroz, and both trucks caught fire.
The driver of the fuel tanker, Balwinder Singh, 35, and Quiroz were taken to University Hospital in Newark with non life-threatening injuries. Quiroz, however, soon was released, while Singh remains in critical condition, according to a report picked up by the Daily Mirror of London. Pinaire was killed.
Singh, 35, climbed through the broken windshield of his burning truck to escape.
Joe DeGioia, 28, filmed the video after witnessing the crash. He told New Jersey news website NJ.com: "I saw it in the distance and I didn't think anything of it, but when I got closer it was surreal. I started taking video and you can hear two or three explosions, and then I saw the man crawl out of the windshield of the truck. After that I stopped recording."
DeGioia said Singh walked to the side of the road and "looked completely out of it" before paramedics treated him, he told NJ.com.
Now, the driver of the tractor-trailer is speaking out about how he cheated death, and even serious injury, in an exclusive interview with a New York TV station known as CBS2.
"I just think God gave me another chance to live," Quiroz told the station.
"I just think God gave me another chance to live," Quiroz said with his daughter Jennifer by his side translating for him.
With his daughter Jennifer by his side translating for him, the fortunate driver said it's amazing he wasn't killed.
Quiroz said he was trapped in his rig, surrounded by flames but managed to escape to safety by jumping out of his window.
"I thought I was gonna die," he told CBS2. "The window only opened half way, and it was really hard to jump out the window."
His daughter still can't believe he made it out alive.
"When I look at that video, I think, 'oh my God. My dad had an angel over him who gave him another chance to live,'" Jennifer told the New York affiliate for CBS News.
Quiroz was taken to University Hospital in Newark following the crash, where he was tested for internal injuries. And despite everything he'd been through, remarkably doctors said he was OK, CBS2 reported.
The only remnant of physical injury? Eight staples in his head to close a small gash.
"He feels blessed," Jennifer told the TV reporter.
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