Sep 5, 2013 11:31 PM by Tony Spehar - firstname.lastname@example.org
The victim of a car crash that resulted in an explosion in Colorado Springs on Wednesday afternoon was released from the hospital on Thursday morning and spoke exclusively to News 5.
Ellis Rainsberger, 80, suffered a spinal fracture as a result of the crash. He said he had been returning home from working out at a local YMCA when he stopped at a red light at the intersection of Highway 115 and Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard just after 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon. He was suddenly hit from behind by another car.
"I didn't see him coming, I didn't hear him, he didn't slam on the brakes, there was nothing, it was just kaboom," Rainsberger described.
The impact sent his car flying across the intersection and sparked flames.
"Then some people come running over and I had this tremendous pain in my back and a headache," he explained. "I was trying to get out of there and I didn't get out of there by myself."
Two bystanders rushed to Rainsberger's car and helped pull him out as the fire engulfed the vehicle. In the trunk of the car were oxygen tanks for his wife.
"No more than they took me out, then it exploded in fire and then after that there were two more big explosions," he described. "Kept exploding two and three and four times."
The oxygen tanks in the trunk erupted in a series of explosions as the flames hit them. Nobody was injured as a result of the explosions, but two police cruisers and a fire truck were damaged.
According to the Colorado Springs Police Department Joshua Morgan, 23, was the driver who hit Rainsberger and was driving under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash. News 5 pulled up Morgan's court records and found he has a lengthy criminal record including drug charges and a number of instances of driving with a suspended license. In fact, Morgan had been in court earlier in the day on Wednesday for a case of driving with a suspended license.
"I don't want to say anything to him really I just, I mean he has his problems and I have my problems now," Rainsberger said of Morgan. "I hope that the officers are able to do the appropriate thing and get him off the road."
Ellis Rainsberger is thankful to be alive and wants the two strangers who pulled him from his car to come forward so he can thank them in person. He is looking forward to officiating at his grandchild's wedding this month (despite his ordination papers burning in his car) and celebrating his 81st birthday.
"It's unfortunate, but it's also fortunate that I'm still alive," he said.
Joshua Morgan has yet to be formally charged for driving under the influence, he is in an area hospital and listed in good condition.