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Published: Thursday, 5/2/2002

Driver survives car's fall into Monroe quarry

MONROE - A Monroe man was not hurt yesterday when his car plunged off a 60-foot cliff into an old, water-filled quarry near here, authorities said.

Teddy Qassis, 27, lost control of his car shortly before 7 a.m. while traveling west on Dunbar Road near Monroe Street in Monroe Township, just outside the city.

The car crashed through a fence and fell 60 feet into the quarry, but Mr. Qassis managed to get out by himself and swim to a rock ledge along the shoreline.

“He was a very, very lucky boy,” Monroe Township Fire Chief Larry Merkle said. “It's like hitting a concrete wall, hitting water like that.

“I'd say [the victim] fell at least 60 feet, if not more,” the chief said. “He said he wasn't hurt. He was just cold.”

Monroe Township fire and rescue crews met Mr. Qassis along the shoreline within about five minutes after authorities received a call from a passer-by who saw the incident.

Firefighters bundled Mr. Qassis in blankets and got him out of the quarry with a motorized rubber raft, Chief Merkle said. Mr. Qassis was treated at Mercy Memorial Hospital in Monroe.

He could not be reached for comment last night.

His car was to be removed from the quarry today by the sheriff's department's dive team, Chief Merkle said.

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