Injury Prevention Resource’s Tom Cunningham and seat belt survivor John Keller. Photo provided by IPR/WYDOT.
(Lander, Wyo.) – John Keller has worn his seat belt since before it was mandated by state law, and his dedication paid off Christmas Eve when he lost control on an icy Wyoming 789 and his vehicle flew 39 feet off the roadway and landed on its top.
The Lander man is a seat belt survivor. Injury Prevention Resources, Wyoming Highway Patrol and Wyoming Department of Transportation earlier this week recognized Keller as a new member of the Safety Belt Survivor Club.
Keller, 75, was driving his 2006 Nissan pickup south of Lander when the crash occurred about 8:40 a.m. on Dec. 24.
“I wear my seat belt because it is safe,” Keller said. “I was driving down the highway, and my truck left the driving lane. When I corrected it, it was too icy and my truck flipped at about 55 mph.”
Keller suffered bruises to his arms, legs and chest from the seat belt in the crash. “My neck is a little sore from whip lash, and I’m a little sore from the air bag, but that’s it. I’m OK because I was wearing my seat belt,” he said.
Keller is an advocate for seat belt use to his wife, Ramona, his children and his grandchild.
“I’m stiff and sore, but I’ll be more cautious after this wreck. The amazing thing is the other drivers were not slowing down. That shocked me,” Keller said.
Keller has advice for other drivers.
“Slow down in bad conditions, and wear your seat belt,” he said.