Thank God for trucks with no electric windows.
That’s what Harry and Louise Wilkinson of Riverhead are saying after their son Phil was able to manually roll down the window of his burning Ford Ranger and crawl to safety following a fiery crash in Middle Island early Sunday morning.
Mr. Wilkinson, 26, of Wilk’s 24 Hour Towing on West Main Street, was on the job about 3:30 a.m. Sunday when another driver crossed the double yellow line on Middle Country Road, struck his truck head-on and sent him crashing into a P.C. Richard & Sons electronics store as his truck burst into flames, his parents said.
“What saved him is the fact it was a cheaper model service vehicle,” Harry Wilkinson said. “He rolled down the windows and escaped. He couldn’t walk, he had to crawl.”
The other driver had fallen asleep, the Wilkinsons said.
Mr. Wilkinson was brought to safety by a Suffolk County police officer who drove past the scene almost immediately after the crash happened, Harry Wilkinson said.
Mr. Wilkinson was quickly transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he is being treated for a damaged spleen, cracked hip bone and a broken ankle. He is expected to have surgery on the ankle Monday morning, Harry Wilkinson said.
Due to the head-on nature of the crash, Mr. Wilkinson’s truck suffered severe damage to the front end, disabling his breaks.
“He was driving a smaller Ford Ranger up against a larger Suburban,” Harry Wilkinson said. “He said he was driving 45 miles per hour, assuming the other guy was also going 45, that’s 90 miles per hour head on.”
The other driver suffered a bump on his head, Harry Wilkinson said.
The fire was quickly extinguished by the Middle Island Fire Department.