An organ donor helped save the life of a person in a very unexpected way in Colorado when a hearse crashed and nearly plunged into a canyon — but the weight from the deceased organ donor in the back helped keep the teetering car from a fatal fall.

CBS News Colorado reported the snowy night of Jan. 29, 2023, was a difficult one to drive to for Hubbard and Son’s funeral home service, mostly because of the other drivers. One of the company’s employees was transferring a body in the back of a hearse from Grand Junction to another location for organ donation, but told Colorado State Patrol a driver in a red Durango went speeding by him on his way up towards the Eisenhower Tunnel.

He said he switched lanes to get out of the way of the erratic driver, and lost control in the snowstorm around 3 a.m., hurtling towards the barrier on the edge of the road.

His hearse crashed through the barrier, teetering over the side of Interstate 70, and a fatal drop, but came to a stop, front wheels suspended over the canyon. While the driver and his family declined an on camera interview, they told CBS News Colorado the weight from the body in the back of the car likely kept the car on the road, and therefore stopped the hearse from hurtling over the side of I-70. He said it saved his life, no doubt.

“That’s a lucky mother*****r right there,” a responding law enforcement officer is heard saying while walking towards the vehicle, suspended as if frozen in time, almost perfectly balanced half-on and half-off.

Cheryl Talley, director of communications for Donor Alliance, was not able to comment specifically on this case, but told CBS News Colorado that all organ donors are giving families the possibility of more time with their loved ones.

“Being an organ donor and registering as an organ donor is the most generous thing that somebody can do, is giving the gift of life to somebody who has no chance at a life without that possible transplant,” Talley said.

More than 100,000 people in the United States are waiting for an organ transplant. But only slightly more than half of them are expected to receive an organ within five years.

Donor Alliance said 66% of Coloradans are organ donors.

“We always need more to register because we’d like to see 100% of people in Colorado registering to be organ donors because the need is so great,” Talley said. “Nearly 1,500 people are waiting for lifesaving transplants in Colorado today.”

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