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Man's Gesture Helped Woman Miss Being Struck by Tractor Trailer in Fatal Boone Co. Crash

A woman may be able to credit her life to a man who urged her to get away from her broken down vehicle on Interstate 71 on Thursday, moments before a fatal crash involving a tractor trailer.

At the 73-mile marker in Verona, a tractor trailer operated by Christopher Thornhill, 33, of Rossburg, Ohio, was headed northbound on I-71 when he sideswiped an unoccupied Chevrolet Cavalier that was outside of a travel lane. Thornhill lost control, crossed the median into the southbound lanes, and collided with two vehicles. 

A 45-year old Lexington man was killed when his pickup truck was hit, and 64-year old Sandra Edwards of Cincinnati was taken by helicopter to University of Cincinnati Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

All drivers had their seat belts on.

A man posted on Facebook that he urged a woman in that Cavalier that was sideswiped to get out of the vehicle just moments before the tractor trailer slammed into it. "Driving south I saw a young girl broke down in her car sitting on the edge off the median just off the high speed lane. I'm thinking hell no girl you can't sit there so I got off the exit and headed north," wrote Mike Hare, of Dry Ridge. "I pulled in the emergency lane and yelled for her to please get out and come sit with me. She did and God sure put me there for her. Yes, within five to ten minutes of sitting there, a semi smashed into her car and lost control right beside me. I was now helpless as the 18 wheeler flipped into the median and struck two vehicles head on."

"I ran across the highway to help. The semi driver crawled out and was miraculously OK. I walked around to see what made me swallow my heart. The first SUV, I could see the lady not moving. No movement in the other vehicle, so back to the first one. Her head tried to raise. She was so scared and there was nothing I could do but talk to her. Forty-five minutes later after being freed her little dog was rescued. Now "sandy" was freed also and air cared. I hope she is ok! I then saw the girl again that I convinced to get out of her car. She hugged me and cried her eyes out. Thank you God for putting me there as everyone else just passed her by."

The accident closed the interstate in both directions on Thursday but all lanes have since reopened.

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-Staff report