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Tollway Crash Survivor Walks Out Of Hospital

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
Bud is the most veteran reporter at CBS 11 News with 42 years in m...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Houston area lawyer walked out of Dallas’ UT-Southwestern Medical Center-Zale Lipshy Hospital on Friday, little more than two weeks after a horrific car crash nearly cost him his life.

49-year-old Greg Meece, who lives in Sugar Land, still marvels at dramatic video caught on an NTTA traffic surveillance camera.   “I am amazed (at what I see in video); it’s a little frightening to watch at first,” he says.

MORE: 18-Wheeler Crash Closes Dallas North Tollway For Hours

Meece recounted what he remembers of the wreck.  “I turned my head to look and saw this truck, this 18-wheeler, coming over on top of me.”

Meece was headed up the Dallas North Tollway when a speeding semi pushed an SUV through a concrete barrier, then rolled on top of Meece’s car.  “And I remembered the jolt but then I lost consciousness because the next thing I remember is when I came to my chin is on my chest, I’m in a ‘C’ position and roof is crushed in on top of me.”

A crush of traffic delayed medics, too.

Despite the threat of a fuel spill, passing drivers pulled him out and stabilized him.  “Angels,” is what Meece calls them.

“When you realize what ordinary citizens from every walk of life were doing. They’re sitting there making decisions because at the same time they’re there they can hear the creaking and they’re worried this truck is about to continue to collapse on this car.”

Meece’s wife, Donna, agrees.  “ We would not be here if it wasn’t for God placing those people on the scene.”   A woman they call “Angel Cindy” was a former nurse; she stabilized his neck until medics arrived.  “She’s there barefoot on broken glass and as soon as they get me out she stabilizes my neck, and she’s stabilizing my neck the entire time,” according to Meece.

“Any wrong movement could’ve been the movement that severed that spinal cord.”  He says he had a fractured vertebra compressed on his spinal cord.  “The fracture,  the cervical vertebra, had jumped out  and was over and compressing the spinal cord; that’s why it was within a millimeter or two of snapping the spinal cord and make me a complete quadriplegic.”

He claims doctors had to manually force his spine back into place. “They had to put their hands inside on my spinal column and manually bring it back into place and keep it there while then they took a rib out at and they’re using that as a bone graft as part of it to literally fuse from C5 down to T1 along with plates and screws and everything else  And that’s what’s allowing me to have this stabilization—and quite frankly allow me to walk.”

He says he still has some loss of feeling in his fingers but hopes it will get better as the spine injury heals.

He and wife Donna both believe in angels, and the power of prayer.  According to Donna, “Those angels—He put those people there, placed them perfectly there…we believe completely this was all God’s hand.”

“These series of miracles that I don’t believe are coincidences,” says Greg Meece, adding there was another little miracle in the way he went about renting the car he was in when the crash occurred. “And maybe this is a God thing as well, I decided to roll the dice and spend an extra four dollars and get a mid-sized car and when you see the pictures you realize that….I don’t know if a compact car would’ve survived that accident because a foot or two made the difference.”

And yet just 15-days later, he can leave the hospital under his own power.   “I think it’s just going to be a reminder to us to appreciate life more and thank God every day for our lives.  It’s just a miracle,” says Donna Meece.

The Meeces return to the Houston area Saturday, where Meece will still face weeks of intensive outpatient therapy, but Greg Meece says he, too, has a greater appreciation of living every day.

“You may look at this as a dreary day (looking at the grey, rainy sky outside the hospital). But I look at this as a beautiful day that I get to walk out of the hospital.  So for me this is a great day.”

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