Man who survived 75-foot fall reunited with first responders who helped save his life

A good Samaritan who suffered a terrifying 75-foot fall while trying to help a driver stranded along I-85 in Salisbury had an emotional reunion with the first responders who helped save his life Thursday.

"Thank you. I mean thank you is not enough. I mean, words can't describe them for getting there as fast as they can. Thank you is not enough. I don't how I'll ever repay them," said Jeremiah Cribb.

Cribb, 24, thanked the brave men and women of the Salisbury Fire department who saved his life last week when he fell off of a bridge over the Yadkin River.

"We pulled up. The state trooper that was there was holding a flashlight over the side of the bridge and his coworker was there and the lady he stopped to help was there and I think we both looked at each other like, 'this guy is going to be dead',  and when we looked over this thing he wasn't," said first responder Ashley Melchor. 


Cribb is a Fed-Ex driver. He stopped on I-85 around 3:00 a.m. to help a driver whose car was disabled when he was forced to jump off the bridge to avoid an oncoming tractor-trailer.

"After the fall it was just me looking up like 'oh my gosh, I fell off a bridge that I thought was a median.' I thought it was a grassy median," Cribb said. 

Photos captured the daring rescue. First responders were in disbelief when they learned Cribb not only survived, but was able to stand and speak, suffering only three fractured ribs and a partially collapsed lung.

"Don't let these guys fool you they live to do this stuff. They love it. We train every day for this. They live for the opportunity to serve and that night was a tremendous opportunity for them to do what they've been called to do and what they've prepared to do," said Battalion Chief Nick Martin. 

Firefighter say Cribb's heroic actions made him a part of the team. 

"Jeremiah became one of us when he stopped on that bridge. To stop on a bridge on an 85 mile an hour roadway and 3 in the morning in the rain. You know, he stopped to help people and that's what we do. So, in many ways, I think some of our guys felt like they were rescuing one of our own," Martin said. 

The emotional reunion was a reminder of the amazing bond shared when people reach out to help each other.