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‘A joy to be standing’: Man describes moment awning, building trapped him in car

By Josh Kristianto

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    OMAHA, Nebraska (KETV) — A joy to be standing.

That is what the man who survived a torrent of steel and concrete is saying after a massive awning came crashing down on top of his car at a Scooter’s drive-thru in Omaha Thursday.

That 74-year-old shares his harrowing escape with KETV and what it was like the moment things went dark.

“You guys didn’t give me a mirror and comb now,” said Dan Witt, who survived that awning crash.

Witt is in good spirits and is as spry as ever a day after this all happened.

“I was going to work, was supposed to report to work at 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon and it was about 12:40, and I was like, I think I have time to sneak into Scooter’s,” Witt said.

Witt teaches math part-time at Metro Community College. And instead of his usual mocha, Witt pulled into the Scooter’s drive-thru on 30th and Ames for a free coffee. But as he was waiting to roll down his window, all of a sudden: “I see concrete and steel pillars… and there is noise, just crshhhhhh, coming at me, the whole world coming down on top of my car,” he said.

A box van had struck the edge of the awning above Witt, sending the entire structure crashing down on top of him. Witt says the roof of his car came right down to his steering wheel.

“You don’t even have time to think. All I did was, probably think it’s going to crush my head, so I dove sideways. My feet are still on the pedals, but my belly is over my console and my head is in the passenger seat. And that might have saved me,” Witt said.

KETV caught the moments first responders pulled Witt out of his car, where he spent 25 minutes pinned beneath the rubble. Witt’s car has remained at the wreckage ever since.

“When they pulled me out, I just stood up and was just like, thank you, God, for standing up in the sun,” Witt said.

Witt walked away with only minor injuries. He credits his guardian angel for working overtime. That, and his 2010 Mazda 3, which his family partly credits for saving his life.

“He says, ‘Dad, you better call Mazda and thank them for designing that car well. And when you buy the replacement, you better buy a Mazda,'” Witt said.

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