- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) - As Phil Frazier lay in a swampy ditch, barely able to move, he tried not to let the thought of death creep into his mind.

The pain from his shattered pelvis and array of other injuries was excruciating. He wondered who would provide for his wife and daughter if no one found him.

He could hear his cell phone ring in the distance, but a 30-foot fall from an overpass left his body broken. His attempts to crawl were useless.

Frazier’s yells were drowned out by thick concrete and the rumble of passing vehicles. No one answered and he was left alone to contemplate his fate.

“I had my doubts in my head,” he said. “‘What the hell were you thinking?’ ‘Why did you go help those people?’ ‘Why didn’t you just go home to your family?’ “



Frazier, 41, and his wife, Wendy, were driving back to their Prosser home on Interstate 82 from Grandview last week after an evening of grocery shopping, they said. Around 9:15 p.m., they noticed another vehicle heading west had crashed into a barrier near milepost 78.

Phil decided to pull over to check if the driver needed help. Friends and family say he is the type of guy who always stops to help someone in need. He told Wendy to call 911 while he hustled across oncoming traffic to the other side of the road.

An oncoming vehicle swerved towards him as he approached the crash site, walking against traffic on the shoulder near a median, he said. The car’s lights shone directly in his eyes and he heard the sound of tires going over a rumble strip.

Fearing the car was close to hitting him, he leaped over the median expecting to hit dirt or concrete.

However, there was nothing but air. He disappeared.

“It was just a flash decision to hop over the barrier thinking there was something on the other side,” Phil said. “As I was falling, I literally had time to say to myself ‘this is not good and this is going to hurt.’ “

He fell 30 feet before he hit a gravel embankment, then his body rolled about another 20 feet into a ditch under the overpass, officials said. The ditch was filled with water and he was knocked unconscious during the fall. Scrapes from the rocks and gravel covered his body.

Wendy was distracted talking to 911 dispatchers during the fall and she waited in the car for her husband to return, she said. She watched as first responders came and went, assuming the whole time her husband was helping. Soon, the state trooper who was investigating the crash also left the scene.

Panic began to set in as Wendy sat on the side of the road. She tried to calm herself down, thinking the trooper possibly was bringing her husband to the car so he wouldn’t have to cross the freeway again. Moments later she was somewhat relieved when the trooper pulled up behind her car.

However, the trooper was alone and simply stopped to ask her to move her car. She explained the story to the trooper, who then had her drive to a rest area as he began to search for Phil.

“I was hysterical,” she said. “I was calling his phone and got no answer.”

Meanwhile, under the overpass, Phil had tied his belt around his legs to stabilize them, he said. The 6-feet-4, 285-pound man put his dislocated wrist back in place and worked to get out of the water to stay warm. He focused on controlling his breathing - something his mother, a former nurse, had taught him.

He could feel constant pain throughout his body, but he also knew the pain meant he was alive. It had been about an hour and 45 minutes since the fall.

Then, it seemed like out of nowhere, the freeway quieted down and he heard a voice from above.

“I heard the officer holler down, ‘Hey, Phil, are you down there? Are you OK?’ “

The trooper called for help. A rescue vehicle made its way through an orchard and down a road near the overpass. Phil told first responders to pick him up and get him out despite the pain, he said.

They took him to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, then to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Doctors discovered he shattered his pelvis, six ribs, his wrist and a bone in his shoulder, Wendy said. He also injured his spine, and has soft-tissue damage in his shoulders and ankles.

Phil has a long road to recovery ahead of him, his wife said. It’s unclear how long he could be in the hospital and he will need more surgeries.

Friends said the Fraziers do not have medical insurance. They are asking the community for donations to help offset the cost of medical bills and lodging in Seattle. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/gksbk0

Phil and Wendy had recently moved, along with their 14-year-old daughter, from Coeur d’Alene. Phil had just taken a job helping develop a farm in the area.

Despite the injuries, Phil told the Herald from his hospital bed Tuesday that he is just happy his injuries weren’t more serious.

“To have no internal bleeding, not a punctured lung or any nerve damage tells me there is way more life in front of me,” he said.

First responders and the Frazier family thanked the trooper, Nathan Parent, who was diligent enough to search for Frazier and ultimately saved his life.

“By the grace of god they found him,” said Doug Merritt, Prosser Fire District 3 chief, who was at the scene. “If nobody would have found him, and he would have laid there all night, he probably would have expired.”

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