RANTOUL, Ill. -- An Illinois state trooper says at first he was stunned to see a car skid onto a University of Illinois student on a snowy Interstate 57. But he was pleased to be able to enlist some help and raise the car off the 21-year-old.
State Trooper Brian Scott was helping motorists whose vehicles were stopped north of Rantoul because of snow Monday afternoon when he noticed Ethan Asofsky outside one of the cars, motioning to him. Then Scott, a 300-pound former college football lineman, said he then watched helplessly as a car skidded toward Asofsky.
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"It was kind of a surreal moment," the 35-year-old Scott told The News-Gazette in Champaign. "It went in slow motion. I watched as the vehicle just plowed him over, just took him out."
Scott saw Asofsky's feet sticking out from under the car, and a friend of the student's trying to pull him out.
Asofsky was returning to Chicago after flying from Austin, Texas, where he'd been covering the Illini men's basketball team's appearance in NCAA Tournament.
Asofsky, Scott said, was yelling that he couldn't breathe.
First Scott tried to lift the car by himself, without success. Then he enlisted two other men, one of them the driver of the car that hit Asofsky, to help.
"I felt the car rise and the young man's friend was able to pull him clear of the vehicle and we set it back down," Scott said.
The trooper estimated Asofsky was under the 3,000-pound car three to four minutes.
The student was in fair condition Tuesday at an Urbana hospital, where Scott had visited him.
"He was upbeat ... talkative," Scott said. "He said, `I just want to thank you for lifting that car off me. I had 30 to 45 seconds of air left. I'm thankful you got me out when you did.' That was a good feeling."
Scott said he gave the driver a ticket for driving too fast under the conditions. The area had about a foot of snow by the end of the day Monday.
"I told (the driver), `I think he's going to be OK. Accidents happen. I want to thank you for helping me lift the car off him. You helped save his life."'