Man pinned in truck speaks out after pileup on Highway 84

Updated: Dec. 31, 2019 at 8:09 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Friday’s pileup along Highway 84 outside of Slaton left one man pinned inside a pickup for hours as emergency crews raced to the scene to get him out.

Zayne James said he was on an errand for work. While driving, he saw hazard lights in the fog in front of him, so he decided to pull off onto the shoulder to avoid running into someone.

While parked there, a semi-truck hit him from behind. He got out to talk with a trooper on scene about the accident, but little did he know, an even greater accident was about to happen.

There were a lot of decisions James had to make that day, one of them being which truck he was going to use for work.

“Ford F150 or a Toyota Tacoma, and honestly if I had chosen the Toyota I wouldn’t be here,” James said.

He credits that truck with saving him from what was about to happen next.

“We both turn about the same time, about 15 seconds after I get out of the truck, and there is a semi that is driving straight towards us,” James said.

James said he had one thought in that moment. How do I avoid this truck?

He knew he could not outrun the semi barreling toward him, so he made the split decision to jump into his truck, hoping it would take the brunt of the impact.

“If I had chosen any other direction I would have been hit just by a semi,” James said, “and that seems a bit worse than being hit in a truck by a semi.”

The next thing he knew, he was surrounded by mangled metal with nothing more than a little head room. His legs and left arm were crushed in the driver’s seat.

“My legs went up and my body went sideways,” James said.

James said he is amazed at how little happened to him. He said it is pure luck.

“No broken bones, no fractures, no breaks, no nothing,” James said.

Watching the video back, James said he cannot believe that is how it went down.

Although he is walking away with nothing more than some scrapes and bruises, James knows it could have been a lot worse.

“The last text message I got from my girlfriend was please answer me, you’re scaring me,” James said. “And, that definitely hit pretty close to home.”

He eventually did return that message, hours later when he woke up in the hospital. James said he is expecting to be released tonight or tomorrow.

Today DPS troopers met to review the crashes that happened Friday. They will determine if any citations will need to be issued.

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