MERIDIAN, Idaho -- A Meridian man says it's a miracle he survived one of the worst interstate pileups in Idaho history. More than 40 vehicles were involved in the January 9 incident, including a fully-loaded logging truck.
Crash victim Jose Silva's Subaru Forester was mangled beyond recognition after it was struck from behind by the logging truck. What's more, crash reconstruction experts say the small SUV was pinned underneath the truck and dragged down the freeway.
Idaho State Police say the series of events happened as a wall of fog descended on Interstate 84 in Meridian. Car after car crashed in the low visibility conditions. The roadway was closed for more than five hours.
The incident left Jose Silva with broken ribs, a broken arm, a broken kneecap, and broken ankle. He also broke his nose and injured his back.
Amazingly, Silva was conscious when firefighters and paramedics reached the damaged SUV. Rescuers worked for more than an hour to free him from the twisted wreckage. Many thought the crash unsurvivable.
'IT'S A MIRACLE'
However, four months later, the 52-year-old is making the kind of progress you have to see to believe. He's now able to walk again, and is slowly working on strength and agility. Eventually, Silva hopes to once-again play soccer with his nephew, go hiking in Boise's Camelsback Park, and enjoy the simple exercise of jogging.
For now, he's still undergoing physical therapy at Rehab Authority in Meridian. Silva, who recently emigrated from Columbia and primarily speaks Spanish, says it's a miracle he survived.
He believes in angels, and he knows that angels protected him, and that, yes, this definitely is a miracle in itself, said his sister-in-law Esmeralda Silva, working as a translator.
Jose and Esmeralda have been coming to physical therapy in Meridian for about a month. He's quickly progressed to weight-bearing, jumping, and therapy band exercises.
Half man, half amazing, that's what we call him, said Silva's physical therapist Adam Cope, who noted Silva's determination to regain his strength.
Despite his remarkable healing, Jose says it's difficult to know whether justice is being done for victims in the crash like him. He believes the driver of the logging truck who hit him was going too fast for the conditions.
That driver, 38-year-old Caldwell man was cited by Idaho State Police for inattentive driving just last week.
He does blame the driver for this, Esmeralda Silva told KTVB. He feels the driver should have taken more precautions.
In the meantime, as Jose continues his physical therapy, he's trying to remain positive and thankful to his family and the doctors who aided in his recovery.
He just believes that there was a higher power, and definitely angels taking care of him that day, Esmeralda Silva said.
We're told Jose Silva's family is pursuing a settlement outside of court to help the 52-year-old recover damages. The family is being represented by attorney Ryan Earl of Earl and Earl PLC.
Idaho State Police say six drivers were cited in that massive crash.