‘Lucky to be alive’/Hillsboro resident Paul Morrison survives another near tragedy.

Paul Morrison’s Chrysler Sebring as it appeared shortly after the accident in Illinois.Hillsboro resident Paul Morrison says he feels fortunate to be alive after a harrowing car accident on a recent trip home from Troy, Ohio.

Morrison said he was approaching Highland, Ill., a city of about 10,000 people in the extreme northeast corner of the state, when near-disaster struck.

“I’m cruising along at 10:30 at night, and I just passed a Chrysler Sebring convertible—and I was driving a Chrysler Sebring convertible,” he said. “I was thinking ‘beautiful car.’”

“About a mile after I passed them, I see something in the road. As I’m trying to react, I realize it’s either a tire or part of a tire.”

In either case, Morrison believes the front right wheel of his Sebring hit the object, causing the vehicle to spin sharply right toward the ditch. The Sebring rolled once it hit the ditch, then came to a stop upside-down with Morrison underneath.

“My head was digging into the dirt—I saw a track in the dirt, but there was not one scratch on my head,” he told the Free Press last week.

“I was hanging down from the seat belt, and once I finally came a little bit to my senses—I didn’t pass out or anything—(the car) had stopped.”

Morrison said he managed to disconnect the seat belt and drop to the ground.

“I thought I probably should just wait (in the vehicle), but I decided I will just go ahead and find a door to get it out,” he said.”

Unable to exit via the driver’s side door, Morrison said he started feeling for the passenger-door handle. He found it, he pulled it and “the door opened right up for me.”The Sebring, filled with mud, after it was transported back to the lot.

A few minutes later, he was able to open the same car door when he decided to retrieve his phone. But by the time responders arrived at the scene, they were unable to open the same passenger door until they used Jaws of Life to open it.

“The only thing I can figure is that the ground was really saturated, and maybe it sunk—I don’t know,” Mor­rison said.

The state trooper who covered the accident later told him, “You shouldn’t be alive.”

Not only did Morrison walk away on his own power, he said the accident didn’t even leave a scratch.

He said the car accident was only the latest serious event he has endured over the past year or so.

Last July he nearly drowned in a fishing accident at Marion Reservoir.

Last fall, Morrison said he bought a house at a tax auction last fall, but it burned to the ground in mid-February.

“So it’s been a wonderful year,” he said with a smile. “I really don’t know what to expect next.”Paul Morrison alive and practically unscratched back in Hillsboro/

Morrison, who has worked as a substitute teacher, said he is hoping to buy a camper soon because he is planning to move to the Seattle area to continue his teaching career.

“I really don’t know how to think about it,” Morrison said of his recent encounters with potential disaster.

“There’s a reason I’m here,” he said. “I’m not a religious person, but there’s got to be a reason why I haven’t been taken.”

He joked that Christians reckon there’s a God and a devil, but: “I think they came to the decision that they’ll just leave me here to annoy humans.”

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