Alcohol possible factor in car's plunge from Duluth cliff; driver recovering


Investigators say speed and alcohol appear to be factors in the Tuesday crash in which a car catapulted 60 feet off a cliff in Duluth, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Justin Lee Pfannes, 26, was listed in good condition at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth, the newspaper reports Friday morning. Investigators say it appears his car went through a guardrail, over the cliff, bounced off a boulder and came to a rest just feet from Lake Superior.

Pfannes wasn't found for hours – the crash happened sometime late Monday or early Tuesday, and a nearby resident who went to investigate the broken guardrail didn't find Pfannes until about 7 a.m.

The temperature had been in the double digits below zero, and the resident who discovered Pfannes, Ken Greshowak, put his coat over the bloodied and dazed driver. Northland's Newscenter reported that Pfannes was found wearing only a T-shirt and boxers.

Rescuers eventually carried Pfannes on a stretcher up a steep snowy slope to the road.

Photos taken by Greshowak from the scene showed the car completely crumpled on the driver's side.

Greshowak told WDIO, "He actually looked at me and asked 'Am I dead?' I said, 'No, you're not, but you're missing a heck of a sunrise.'"

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