Findlay woman hit by semi-truck while mowing lawn - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Findlay woman hit by semi-truck while mowing lawn

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A Findlay woman nearly died while cutting the grass.

61-year-old Nikki Puchta is in critical condition at Saint V’s in Toledo after a semi-truck veers off I-75 and slams into her backyard.

It happened Thursday at 8:45 p.m. near mile post 161 in Findlay.  The home is on the 3200 block of Crosshill Drive.

13abc spoke with the victim’s family in the backyard along the highway.

You can still see the lawn mower underneath debris in the backyard on Friday. The 61-year-old was also buried under debris yesterday. She was trapped face-down. You could only see her feet. Thankfully, her husband, grandson and other drivers who pulled over were able to free her before emergency crews arrived.

61-year-old Nikki Puchta, a retired nurse from Findlay, loves to landscape.

 "She likes to mow the yard for exercise,” says David Puchta, Nikki’s husband.

That lawn mower is now part of the wreckage in the family’s yard which backs up to I-75.

"My wife was finishing mowing the yard when we heard this great big noise and then all of a sudden the end of my garage goes blowing,” says David Puchta.

Their grandson who leaves for boot camp in two weeks found Puchta in the rubble.

"He had called and said, 'Mom, grandma's been hit by a truck,'" says Trina Puchta’s, the victim’s daughter-in-law who rushed to the house. "If you can't mow your grass in your own yard and feel safe, then what could you do, you know?"

State troopers say the driver of a semi-truck lost control while heading north on I-75 and drove off the right side of the highway hitting a chain-link fence, a utility pole, and the garage.

Flying parts of the garage, its contents, and a large wooden privacy fence hit the 61-year-old as she mowed the lawn.

"It's just one of those unfortunate circumstances … wrong place at the wrong time,” says David Puchta.

The driver of the semi is identified as 66-year-old Phillip Ewing, of Bridgeport, Ohio. Ewing was treated at the scene and released.  Ewing was cited for failure to control.  The Ohio State Highway Patrol says he was wearing a seatbelt and alcohol is not suspected. Puchta's husband suspects the driver blew a tire.  Troopers say the crash remains under investigation.

Puchta suffered broken bones and punctured organs all over her body.

Her daughter-in-law found Puchta’s bracelet near the mower.  She says the nurse and paramedic who stopped while on the highway while off-duty are angels.

"We cannot thank you enough for helping my mother in law,” says Trina Puchta through tears. “Needless to say, she's not in real good shape, but she is alive."

The family says when Puchta arrived at the hospital, doctors and nurses actually thought she had been in a motorcycle crash.  They say she has a very long road to recovery. 

The crash remains under investigation.

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