MILPITAS, Calif. - A passenger in a van credits his lucky shirt, a team champion T-shirt he bought just after the Warriors won the NBA finals, with being able to save the driver of his commercial van on Thursday morning after he suffered a coughing attack and veering away from a school bus and other traffic ahead of him on a busy Milpitas highway.
Milpitas Deputy Fire Chief Rick Frawley said just before 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, a driver on Interstate Highway 680 just south of Calaveras Boulevard suffered a medical emergency that sent him into a coughing attack. At that point, the passenger, Jared Elliff, told KTVU that he grabbed the steering wheel from his co-worker, who had fallen unconscious and whose foot was stuck on the pedal, intentionally swerving the van off the freeway to avoid hitting anything or anyone else. That included a school bus. The two were headed to their last stop of the morning, a bakery in San Jose.
"I've been driving for years," Elliff said, adding that he had only been working for this company for two days. "I used to be a pilot car driver for trucks. And I've been on the road a really long time. And I've never been in this kind of situation before."
The van traveled across the highway, through a fence, across a frontage road and slammed into a tree before slowing down and hitting into a building at 1155 Wrigley Way, Frawley said. But it could have been worse. The tree definitely slowed down the impact, Frawley said.
The driver is expected to be OK. And Jared, and his shirt, suffered only minor cuts and bruises. He says he doesn't plan to wear any other shirt but his Warriors one for the next week.
KTVU's Jesse Gary contributed to this report.