Kansas man suffers heart attack while driving on I-80 in Wyoming

Police say seat belts saved couple's lives

DENVER - Authorities say a Kansas couple was lucky to survive a wild car crash on Interstate 80 in Wyoming near Laramie.

George McClellan, 71, and his wife Bonnie, 68, were headed east on I-80 Tuesday morning in their Honda Odyssey with the cruise control on, said Sgt. Stephen Townsend of the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

According to Bonnie McClellan, George had a heart attack or stroke and passed out. Bonnie was in the passenger seat and was unable to take control of the van.

According to eyewitnesses, the van crossed the median and off the highway and hit a wildlife tunnel that goes under the highway.

The Odyssey struck the southwest corner post and started to drag posts and fencing along as it hurtled towards the first wing wall of the south concrete culvert, Townsend said.

"In true Dukes of Hazzard fashion, the vehicle went airborne across the wide culvert for an estimated 25 to 30 feet.  While the fence material and posts acted as a mechanical parachute to significantly slow the McClellan vehicle, it also accelerated the vehicle into a roll while airborne across the culvert.  The top of the vehicle struck the next concrete wing wall, then rolled towards the center of the ditch and flipped upright on its wheels, but now facing the opposite direction."

Two Life Flight helicopters were dispatched to the scene and the McClellans were taken to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.

Townsend said seat belts and air bags saved both their lives.

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