Survivor of 30 Car Pile-Up Tells His Story - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/20/04

Survivor of 30 Car Pile-Up Tells His Story

"That wind and sand was ferocious. I'd never seen sand that thick and that heavy." 83-year-old Robert Clark describes his dust storm experience on Thursday.

Robert has worked all his life driving the roads of Texas. He survived temporary paralysis from an accident as a child, served in World War II and now this. On his way home to Sweetwater from Lubbock, Robert found himself in the middle of a viscous sand storm and a 30 car pile-up.

"The paramedic asked me are you hurt and I said I was and he told me to stay in there and be still and of course the dirt and sand were blowing in the back of the truck where the glass was knocked out and I was just covered with filth and glass and dirt," says Robert.

Robert says he didn't even see the collision coming and doesn't remember bit and pieces due to a loss of consciousness. He says what he does recollect, though, was just plain ghostly; a sentiment shared by his wife, son and grandson as they themselves pulled up on the scene.

Robert's son, also named Robert, says, "It's a sinking feeling. We had pretty well dealt with it until we saw the wreck scene and then it hit all over again. We realized the dire seriousness of the situation."

Robert's Grandson, Gary Clark says, "We're lucky he's still here. The good Lord was riding with him and if it wasn't for him he could have been one of the ones who passed away."

Robert says there was nothing he could do to prevent the wreck. He was driving less than 15 to 20 miles per hour. Now, he can't emphasize enough the importance of being cautious in West Texas weather. When asked what he would do next time he's in a sandstorm, Robert says, "I'm going to stop. In fact, I won't be in a sandstorm. If I see it coming, I won't be there.

Robert was still at University Medical Center Friday night. Doctors think he may have a cracked vertebrae and he's suffering from severe back, neck and shoulder pain. The Clark family though, is just thankful he made it through the accident alive.

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