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Off-duty police officer rescued after car crashes into creek off Parkway West

PITTSBURGH — A car crashed off the side of the Parkway West and into a creek Monday morning in Pittsburgh’s West End.

The car crashed about 7 a.m. just outside the outbound Fort Pitt Tunnel. Investigators believe the driver, Philip Hathaway, was trying to avoid a fender-bender between two other cars and crashed through the guiderail.

Crews lined the hillside leading down to the creek to rescue the driver, who was taken to a hospital. Officials said he was talking.

Hathway suffered three broken ribs and bleeding around his spine.

Hathaway, a police officer from North Versailles Township, was off-duty when he had just moments to register an accident that happened right in front of him.

“I heard the crash and the next thing I know, the other car slammed into the rear corner of my car, spun me sideways. There was no trying to avoid anything, it happened to so quickly,” Hathaway told Channel 11.

After that car clipped him from behind, he spun over the guide rail, falling some 30 feet.

“I was just thinking about my family, my wife and my two sons, older son and 18-month-old, and afraid I wouldn’t see them again,” Hathaway said.

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James Pritchard and his wife, who work at a hospital, immediately rushed to help.

“Just went down to check on him. Just do their vitals and make sure they were OK and stabilize him until the EMS could get there,” Pritchard said.

Hathaway wanted to take a moment from his hospital bed to thank the first responders and the strangers who didn’t hesitate when he needed help.

“You don’t see a lot of selfless acts these days anymore. It’s very heartwarming to see someone who still has compassion and try to help a fellow man,” he said.

Hathaway said he was wearing his seatbelt. He’s spending the night in the hospital, but he is expected to be OK.