LAKE COUNTY, Ind. (STMW) – Hospital personnel credited the actions of an Indiana State Trooper and a Good Samaritan with saving the life of an allegedly drunk driver who lost control of his SUV, which rolled over after striking a semi on I-65 near in northwest Indiana Saturday morning.

At approximately 2:30 a.m., according to Indiana State Police, a 1997 Toyota 4-Runner driven by 39-year-old Paul Eger of Demotte, Ind., was heading south in the left lane of I-65 about one mile north of the Lowell exit, when his vehicle drifted into the right lane sideswiping a semi-tractor trailer.

The Toyota veered left off the left rear tandem tires of the semi-trailer, went off the road into the median, then struck the safety barrier cables, a release from state police said. It went back right (southwest) into the southbound lanes and went airborne, rolling over, before coming to rest on the outer shoulder.

A witness told Indiana State Police that Eger was able to crawl out of the 4-Runner. Eger suffered a severed artery at the bottom of his right wrist. Indiana State Police Corporal Fred Blohm responded to the reported crash. He and a Good Samaritan (a nurse from California) applied pressure to the severed artery and subsequently applied a tourniquet until emergency medical help arrived.

As first aid was being administered, Eger made a spontaneous request for a “White Castle hamburger and a cigarette,” state police said.

Eger was taken to Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Crown Point. Hospital personnel attributed the actions of Corporal Blohm and the Good Samaritan as being instrumental in saving Eger’s life, the release said.

It is believed that the semi-tractor trailer did not know it was struck by the Toyota and it continued south without stopping.

Eger was not wearing a seat belt, which contributed to his injuries, state police said. He also tested positive for alcohol. Charges of drunk driving and unsafe lane movement are pending against him.

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