'I was praying nobody was below me': Man suffers minor injuries after Jeep flies off I-355
A Glendale Heights man says he feels lucky to be alive after his Jeep spun out of control on Interstate 355 and flew over the retaining wall, landing on Lake Street below.
Kevin Ramos, 25, suffered some fractured ribs but was otherwise largely unscathed after the single-vehicle crash Tuesday morning in DuPage County, he told the Daily Herald. More than anything, he said, he's glad nobody else was injured.
"I was praying nobody was below me," Ramos said, recalling what was going through his mind while he was airborne. "I was just happy to not have killed anybody."
Given Tuesday's snowy road conditions, Ramos said he had been driving carefully and well below the speed limit on northbound I-355 when his vehicle hit a patch of black ice about 10:55 a.m.
The silver Jeep, which he had barely driven since he bought it used in December, needed an alignment -- something Ramos had discussed with the dealership the previous night, he said. It first swerved to the left, then went right and headed toward the concrete retaining wall.
Piles of snow acted as a ramp along the side of the roadway, catapulting the Jeep off the overpass, Ramos said. He remembers trying to look for traffic on Route 20 below, terrified that he would crush the top of another car.
But his vehicle fell straight down onto the pavement, landing on the rear passenger's-side tire before falling forward and remaining right-side-up, he said.
"That's what saved me," said Ramos, the vehicle's sole occupant.
Illinois State Police said the Jeep struck a bridge sign during the fall, though Ramos says he doesn't recall hitting anything. He was ticketed for improper lane usage and driving too fast for conditions -- citations he said he doesn't believe are warranted given the circumstances and combination of factors leading to the crash.
"I'm the most cautious person," Ramos said. "There's absolutely no reason why this should've happened at my speed."
The Jeep is a total loss, he said, noting the doors and seats are destroyed. But overall, he considers himself "pretty lucky."
"Somebody was looking out (for me)," he said.
• Daily Herald staff writer Katlyn Smith contributed to this report.