HANOVER TOWNSHIP -- Rescuers are calling it a Christmas miracle -- a family from Ohio survived a crash on Interstate 81 in Luzerne County.
Their car was wedged under a tractor trailer, dragged for a quarter mile and all four walked away from the wreck.
A family car was destroyed but the couple and their two children walked away from the crash with only minor injuries.
Hanover Township's fire chief saw a mangled Kia Sorrento stuck under a tractor trailer on I-81 near the Nanticoke exit when he arrived at the crash site.
"My partner said to me, 'this looks really bad,'" recalled Hanover Township Fire Chief Joe Temarantz.
Chief Temarantz said the 3 a.m. call sounded bad, too, a wreck and an entrapment. He was five minutes away.
"My guess, it would have been a fatality; there was no doubt in my mind."
As the chief drove his ambulance down Nuangola hill towards the scene of the wreck, he saw tire tracks, twisted metal, and shredded rubber all over the road. He later learned that the car that was wedged beneath the tractor trailer was dragged for more than a quarter of a mile.
But when Temarantz got to the scene, he saw the driver, his wife and two kids sitting on a nearby embankment.
"I keep running this through my head that this should have been much worse. But they were very fortunate people," said the chief.
The car now sits behind Falzone's towing in Wilkes-Barre. Towing company manager Paul Falzone often sees badly damaged cars brought to his lot.
"For that family to walk away from that is really a miracle. Once in a while, it's good to see that happen, especially so close to Christmas," Falzone said.
"I can tell you that in my 30 years of doing this, there really would have been some serious injuries. And there wasn't," said Temarantz.
The chief will never forget the driver telling his child not to worry about the Christmas presents stuck inside the wrecked car.
"We said, 'your Christmas present just happened.' It really and truly did."
The family was headed from Ohio to be with relatives in Connecticut. All of them were treated at a hospital and released by mid-morning.