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Crash survivor talks of tragedy

May 01, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

YORK, Pa. - Even with his pelvis broken in four places, Dwight Leer considers himself a lucky man.

Leer was driving a pickup truck that was struck head-on by an automobile a week ago in a crash that killed three Pennsylvania men who were in the car.

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Leer, 23, of Smithsburg, was the only survivor of the accident. He was listed in satisfactory condition at York (Pa.) Hospital Monday.

"I saw a car coming and then it swerved in front of me," Leer said Monday by telephone from his hospital bed. "The next thing I knew the air bag went off and I blacked out."

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Leer said he isn't sure how long he will be in the hospital in York but when released, it will be to a rehabilitation facility instead of to his home.

"I'm not in a cast or even taped up," Leer said. His injuries included bone damage around the socket where his left leg meet his pelvis, he said.

The nurses got him up and on a walker Monday but he wasn't allowed to put any weight on his left leg. He can sit up in bed by himself and get into a wheelchair.

"I know I have to do this but it is very painful," Leer said.

Leer was taken to York from Chambersburg (Pa.) Hospital shortly after the April 25 crash on Leitersburg Road in Franklin County, Pa.

Christopher Wiles, 30, of Waynesboro, Pa., and Paul Logsdon, 31, of Greencastle, Pa., died in the crash, Pennsylvania State Police said. Wiles was driving and Logsdon was a passenger in the front seat of the 1984 Chrysler New Yorker at the time of the 7:40 a.m. accident, according to police.

Cory Johnson, 17, of Greencastle, who was riding in the back seat, was pronounced dead at Washington County Hospital later that day.

According to police, Wiles' car was eastbound on Leitersburg Road about one-quarter mile west of the intersection with Bemisderfer Road when it crossed the center line and hit Leer's 1995 Ford F-150 pickup head-on.

The pickup was towing a compact car at the time of the crash.

"I crawled out of my truck because I saw a lot of smoke coming out from under the hood," Leer said. He said he wasn't wearing a seat belt when the accident occurred.

A mechanic at Keystone Ford, Leer said he figures it will be about four months before he'll be able to return to work.

A graduate of Smithsburg schools, Leer said he also went to the Career Studies Center.

"I've had lots of visitors and piles of cards and letters," Leer said.

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