When one signs up to be an organ donor, it’s expected that lives will be saved after the biological parts are removed. However, on a snowy mountain pass in Colorado, one such donor saved a life before even arriving on the surgical table, likely saving the life of the hearse driver who was transporting the body.
In a Jan. 29 crash only now coming to light via CBS News, a hearse operated by Hubbard and Son mortuary of Grand Junction, Colo. was carrying the body of an unidentified organ donor eastbound along Interstate 70. The incident took place on around 3 a.m. in the midst of a snowstorm. The hearse driver told Colorado state troopers that as he was making the steep climb near the Eisenhower Tunnel, which crosses the Continental Divide at the highest point in the U.S. Interstate system, a red Dodge Durango driving erratically forced him to switch lanes.
That’s when the hearse driver lost control of his vehicle, sending it toward the edge of a sharp drop-off. The hearse came to rest with the front half dangling over the precipice. The driver says the car was teetering, but he was able to get out of the car and onto the roadside. He credits the weight of the body in the cargo area with preventing the hearse from nosediving over the cliff, “Harold and Maude”-style.
“That’s a lucky mother—-er right there,” one of the officers responding to the incident can be heard saying on video. That’s not something you typically hear someone say as they walk toward a hearse unless said hearse is precariously balanced on an overhang just short of tumbling into the abyss like it’s reenacting the end of “The Italian Job.” The bodycam footage was obtained by CBS News via a public records request with the Colorado State Police.
One organ donor can save up to eight lives, CBS says. This particular individual can take credit for one more.