For paramedic Trey McDaniel, his daily commute to work on Feb. 11 was anything but normal. Rare wintery conditions had iced over highways all across Texas, including Interstate 35 in Fort Worth where McDaniel was carefully piloting his 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser. It just so happened to be at the same early morning hour when around 130 vehicles collided due to poor road conditions. Soon, the FJ Cruiser found itself involved in the cacophony of twisted metal.
Despite being involved in the accident, McDaniel stumbled out of the crumpled Toyota and began to help others around him. It didn't take long for Toyota to find out about the paramedic's heroic actions, and now the automaker of the vehicle that McDaniel credits for saving his life is offering him a brand new truck to replace the one taken out by the pileup.
"I was just heading to work like any other day," recalls McDaniel in an interview with NBC Dallas Fort Worth. "Right when I saw it, I put my foot on the brake and I had already hit black ice at that point. There was absolutely no stopping. And I just so happened to look up in my rearview mirror and I'm just watching a semi-truck barreling towards me full speed."
Believe it or not, someone even captured a video of the FJ getting rear-ended and posted it on Reddit.
See, McDaniel was on his way to work that morning, meaning he was already dressed in his MedStar uniform when his truck was sent airborne into traffic. When he emerged from the wreckage and headed towards first responders, they mistook him for someone on-duty at the scene and not someone involved in the accident. He started quickly gathering his bearings, and despite being dizzy and fuzzy, he switched into paramedic mode and began to assist others on the scene, caring for the injured and loading patients onto backboards.
Eventually they realized that McDaniel was actually involved in the wreck and sent him to the hospital to be checked on as well.
McDaniel later posted photos of the accident to the FJ Cruiser subreddit, complete with his own recollection of the wreck. The post quickly gathered quite a bit of attention, including some from Toyota who quickly offered to replace the paramedic's destroyed truck.
This isn't the first time Toyota has offered to reward historic actions with a new vehicle. In 2018, the automaker provided a new Tundra to the nurse who burnt his old truck to a crisp helping to evacuate people in the California wildfires (who also appears to have popped in on the Reddit thread to give kudos to Toyota for their offer to McDaniel).
Now, Toyota no longer sells the FJ Cruiser stateside (although you can pick up a brand new one if you live in the Philippines or the Middle East), so it's an important question: what vehicle will replace the ill-fated FJ? Toyota confirmed to The Drive that it offered McDaniel a vehicle of his choice, and he opted for a brand new 4Runner TRD Pro. Sure, it's not an FJ, but it's the next best thing you can buy today.
Hats off to McDaniel for his bravery, and a hearty applause for Toyota. Enjoy your new truck!
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