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Aledo Times Record - Aledo, IL
  • Du Quoin man's will to survive

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  • A 30-year-old Du Quoin man who survived a two-year tour of Afghanistan, is laying in a St. Louis hospital with a broken neck after his new Chevrolet truck plowed through a herd of deer, rolled down an embankment and left him trapped inside for over two hours last weekend.
    Jeremy Fleming has a home in Du Quoin and a mobile home outside of Coulterville where he spends the week working at a mining operation there. He had come to Du Quoin on Saturday and was heading back to Coulterville.
    He was on the Pyatt-Cutler Road at Red Squirrel Road when a herd of deer suddenly began crossing the blacktop. Jeremy hit one of the deer and swerved to miss one or more of the others.
    His 2013 Chevrolet Silverado--only three weeks old and still being driven on temporary Illinois license plates--went off the roadway and rolled down a 45-foot embankment into the underbrush.
    His truck was crushed. Jeremy was still strapped inside. His neck was broken, the upper vertebrae thrown out of alignment.
    A grandfather, Ron Danbury says, Jeremy told him he unsuccessfully tried to elbow the glass out of the driver's side window, then over two hours got unstrapped and maneuvered enough to push out another window.
    According to family accounts he managed his way out of the truck, then began crawling up the 45-foot embankment to the roadside. Somewhere in-between a passerby saw the truck in the ditch below with its headlights still on. The motorist dialed Emergency 911 for assistance, but apparently did not see Jeremy and left.
    A sheriff's deputy drove to the scene and found Jeremy. He was taken by Pinckneyville Ambulance Service to the Pinckneyville Community Hospital where a CT scan was taken and digitally sent to another hospital for an assessment. This was in the early morning hours on Sunday. The assessment confirmed the broken neck and Jeremy was stabilized for ambulance transfer to St. Louis University Medical Center.
    After he arrived, doctors confirmed the broken neck and compressed vertebrae. They tried to "stretch" sections of the neck back into place. That didn't work.
    They began a 5 1/2 hour surgery that included surgical placement of tubes to relieve the pressure, They fused a five-inch section of bone from his hip into the neck to help with the stabilization.
    As of Monday he was in the ICU experiencing some pain. The prognosis is good, according to Danbury, as doctors talk about six months of recovery at the outset. Jeremy is the son of Dana and Rhonda Fleming. Danbury believes it was a will to live that got him through the ordeal and he thanks the Good Samaritan for calling 911.
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