‘Straight out of a movie’: Couple caught in Pittsburgh bridge collapse took other route due to snow

PITTSBURGH — Two of the four people taken to the hospital from the Fern Hollow Bridge collapse were just released from UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, thankful to be alive after taking a different route than usual because of the snow.

Erin Perry told Channel 11′s Lori Houy that her parents, Tyrone and Velva Perry, both 69, were on their way to take care of Tyrone’s 93-year-old mother.

Erin’s parents were hospitalized in the ICU for one day after they both fractured vertebrae in the collapse.

Erin said she was watching TV coverage of the collapse when she got a frantic call from her sister.

“My mother actually called my sister immediately after it happened and told her they were in a car accident and the bridge gave way,” Erin said. “She passed the phone to my father who said she’s real messed up and he hung up the phone. My sister was immediately hysterical.”

Tyrone was driving the red pickup truck seen at the bottom of the 100-foot ravine.

“As they were driving along, my dad said he saw the bridge buckle from the other side. He said he closed his eyes because he thought he was gone,” Erin said. “My father and mother explained how once the truck stopped, they saw a car flipping towards them. It landed right on its side, right beside them, straight out of a movie.”

Erin said she and her siblings rushed to the scene and were horrified by what they saw.

“It was unreal. It looked like a complete disaster.”

It took over an hour to get Tyrone and Velva to safety.

Erin said her injured parents were instructed to get out of the truck so they could be rescued.

The sense of urgency came from a ruptured gas line.

“They described the sound of the gas coming from the line, sounded like Niagara Falls,” Erin said.

The Perrys expressed their gratitude for the people who helped Tyrone and Velva get to safety.

“My mom wanted me to make sure I said thank you to the first responders. They were people who were there from the Port Authority, and also even other accident victims who came to the rescue.”

Erin has set up a GoFundMe page to help with expenses for her parents. Here’s the link if you’d like to contribute: https://wpxi.tv/3GeWsSP.