Sole Survivor of Highway 273 Crash Speaks Out

POSTED: 6:25 PM Nov 08 2012   UPDATED: 10:22 AM Nov 09 2012
REDDING, Calif. -

The sole survivor of a fiery crash on Highway 273 in Redding is speaking out.

The accident happened around 2 a.m. Thursday morning at Highway 273 and Buenaventura Boulevard in Redding when a sedan collided with a UPS truck pulling two trailers.  

It caused Highway 273 to close for several hours.

The truck had been making a left turn from northbound Highway 273 onto westbound Buenaventura Boulevard.

Police said the two-door Honda sedan was traveling at a high rate of speed when it ran a red light and crashed into the passenger side of the truck. The force of the impact caused the tractor to spin 180 degrees.

Two people inside the car were killed.

The truck driver, John Abraham, 57, said he's been driving the same route for UPS for 18 years. He was leaving town, headed to Eureka when a Honda plowed through a red light and struck his rig.

The car, truck, and two trailers it was pulling almost immediately burst into flames. 

Abraham tried opening the doors to get out, but they were jammed.

He said he held his breath so he wouldn't inhale the smoke as he tried to find a way out. He moved to one of the trailers, eventually breaking free.

That's when he realized both his legs were on fire. "Officer Duvall helped me to extinguish the flames on my legs and torso and we walked just a short distance and we turned around and the tractor that I just crawled out of was no more," Abraham said.

He was taken to Mercy Medical Center and was treated for 2nd degree burns.

"The whole time it never even entered my mind that I was in mortal danger after the impact. It was just, you know, extricate and move away. It was just...an overwhelming sense of calm despite all the chaos," Abraham said.

The identities of the two that were killed have not been released.

Abraham said he gives his most sincere condolences to their families.