Woman in crushed car 'blessed to be alive right now'

PORTLAND, Ore. - The woman who came within inches of being crushed by a giant I-beam that fell off a truck says she is doing well.

Dana Buice was driving across the Marquam Bridge on Tuesday afternoon when the 170-foot beam fell off a truck and landed on her car. The beam crushed most of the car but missed the driver's seat.

Her hand was briefly pinned, but the rear-driver of the oversized truck managed to pull her to safety before the car was engulfed in flames.

"I was just really thankful for (truck driver) Mark Cole to be there to save me. He pulled me out of the car," Buice said. "So a big thanks to Mark Cole and the EMTs and doctors and nurses that I met in the emergency room."

Buice showed us her bandaged hand and said it was feeling much better on Wednesday.

"I'm very, very lucky and very blessed to be alive right now," she said. Buice said she could not discuss other specifics of the incident.

Pictures released by the Portland Police Bureau on Wednesday show just how close Buice was to being crushed. The car was completely flattened just to the right of where she was sitting.

Traffic investigators are still trying to figure out exactly why the beam fell. Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said "the truck was definitely not speeding."

Investigators are looking if the truck stopping for traffic ahead could be a factor in the load shifting.

Both Cole and the driver of the truck, James Pennington, are cooperating with police, Simpson said.

The large girders were being delivered as part of the TriMet Portland-Milwaukie light rail project. Several more similar beams were scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday. producer John Tierney, photojournalist Bob Foster and reporter Hillary Lake contributed to this report