HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - A Hialeah firefighter has recalled the night he flew over a barrier and off the Palmetto Expressway after, investigators said, he was hit by another driver, causing his truck to come to rest on its roof along the street below.
Alain Pineiro is at home recovering from a fractured neck and rib, but it will take him longer to recover from the emotional pain of the crash.
“I remember hitting the wall and thinking, ‘Finally, I’m gonna stop,’ and that never happened,” Pineiro said.
Instead, he would be airborne in his personal truck after, police believe, it was hit or clipped by another driver on the Palmetto Expressway near the Northwest 122nd Street exit on Oct. 12. The fall was captured on surveillance video.
“When I’m in the air, a million things are going through my head,” Pineiro said. “The first one was, ‘I’m gonna die,’ second one was, ‘This is how I die,’ and then, I thought of everybody in my family — my son, my daughter, my wife, my parents. It felt like I was falling forever.”
The 34-year-old firefighter’s vehicle landed on its top below the Palmetto on West 20th Avenue.
“I realized like, ‘Wow, I am alive,'” Pineiro said.
He managed to crawl out of his truck and made it across the street, where he would blackout but fade in and out of consciousness.
“I saw the truck, saw the fall, how high it was, couldn’t believe it,” Pineiro said.
Pineiro’s fellow Hialeah firemen came to his rescue, and then, he was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
He was supposed to be meeting his co-workers for dinner. Instead, there would be a world of worry.
“We’ve been together for 15 years,” said wife Katerina Pineiro.
She learned about the violent wreck, which, as bad as it looked on video, could have been much worse.
Using a device to expand his lungs, Pineiro is recovering from a neck fracture, stitches in his arm and fractured ribs. He was home hours after being airlifted and required no surgery.
He’s thankful he survived to get back home with his family while crediting his other family from work.
“The comfort that they brought that day just seeing them there, I knew I was going to be OK,” Pineiro said.
Usually, Pineiro does the life-saving, but this time, he’s the victim who has all kinds of support.
“I mean, there was definitely an angel over him, watching him, because I don’t know how he survived that,” Katerina said.
Pieces of Pineiro’s truck remain on the grass where he landed off the expressway.
Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the wreck as a possible hit-and-run. They said the incident was a three-car crash, but one of the drivers involved did not stop to speak with investigators and left the scene.
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