A Dayton fire captain who survived a dramatic crash Tuesday on U.S. 35 said he had less than a second's warning that he was about to be thrown through the air.
Capt. Barry Cron said he was conscious the whole time and remembers a half second of tires skidding before he was tumbling. He landed on his back in the snow and immediately began to assess his own injuries.
"The only reason I am sitting here today is by the grace of God," Cron said at a news conference Thursday. "It could have been so much worse."
Cron was released Wednesday from Miami Valley Hospital.
When Cron's ladder crew arrived on the scene of the multicar crash on eastbound U.S. 35 just before 5:30 a.m., there were only a few cars that had slid off the icy roadway, he said. He was assessing a victim in one of the vehicles when another lost control and slammed into the pileup.
Police video shows Cron being thrown several feet from where he was standing by the impact.
Cron told media Thursday he has three broken ribs and a fracture in his leg and a lot of bumps and bruises.
He said the response to the video from people across the country and around the world has been unreal.
"A friend in Australia called," he said. "It's unbelievable how fast that video made it across the world."
Cron said he's also received some criticism about his handling of the crash, and is critical of himself when he watches the video, asking himself, "What could I have done differently?"
Dayton Fire Chief Herbert Redden said as with any incident a debriefing was held. He said the department is planning a modification to its emergency scene safety policy in light of the accident, but did not specify what that change would be.
He also stressed that Cron was acting on his training as a paramedic and was more concerned with the well-being of the woman in the vehicle than his own.
"We do take some risk. We understand that when we take the job," Cron said.
He will be on leave for four to six weeks to recover from his injuries and said he will spend the time at home with his wife, Allison Cron, and their 10-year-old triplets.
He said he is so thankful for their support as well as his "fire family."
"They put themselves in harm's way to get me out of there," he said about his ladder crew. "I've gotta thank them."
Cron has been with the Dayton Fire Department since 1992 and was promoted to captain in November 2012, fire officials said. He works out of Station 13.
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