The guy's FJ Cruiser was sadly destroyed in that fatal Texas pileup.
Winter struck Texas this month with devastation. Aside from the mass power outages and deep freezing temperatures, there was a 130-car pileup on I-35 that resulted in six deaths, many injuries, and vehicular destruction. One driver involved in the pileup just happened to be a paramedic on his way to work who remained committed to helping others despite his own destroyed vehicle and injuries.
NBC Dallas Fort Worth reports paramedic Trey McDaniel was driving to work in his 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser when he became a victim of that massive crash. McDaniel saw crashed vehicles in front of him and immediately hit the brakes but it was already too late. He slid on the ice and crashed into another vehicle. That was only the beginning.
"I happen to look up in my rearview mirror and I'm watching a semi-truck barreling towards me full speed," he said. "It looked like it was trying to stop. There were sparks flying. But it was full speed. I thought it was my time at that point. I just kind of braced for impact." His FJ Cruiser went airborne and landed on the opposite side of the lane.
McDaniel suffered face, ankle, back, and shoulder injuries but still managed to crawl out of the wreckage. Because he was wearing his paramedic uniform, responding firefighters assumed McDaniel was working and asked him to help treat victims. McDaniel said nothing about what happened to him and immediately got to work.
"I checked on a couple of other vehicles," he said. "This was while I was trying to get my bearings. I mean everything was dizzy and fuzzy and all this. I wanted to make sure everybody else was OK. I definitely went into rescue mode. That's all I really know how to do." It took some time for other first responders to realize McDaniel was also a victim who required treatment.
McDaniel later posted photos of his destroyed FJ Cruiser to Reddit and someone at Toyota noticed and offered him a free truck. The Drive confirmed McDaniel chose a brand new 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro because the FJ Cruiser has been out of production for the US since 2014. Toyota has previously offered new vehicles to hero owners, such as the Tundra driver and nurse who sacrificed his truck to save people during the 2018 California wildfires.