Trooper who fell off bridge credits several miracles for his survival

Apr 4, 2024, 5:46 PM | Updated: 6:18 pm

ERDA, Tooele County — Steve “Odie” Myer says a series of miracles are not only the reason he’s alive today, but also why he says he’ll walk again and possibly even return to the Utah Highway Patrol.

“Most people wouldn’t survive a fall that far to begin with, from what I’ve been told,” Myer said of the first miracle. “Another miracle is my head somehow landed in some type of a bush that protected it from hitting (the pavement).”

Plus the Department of Public Safety helicopter happened to be nearby on the day of his accident and his fellow troopers decided to load him into that rather than wait for a medical helicopter.

“They just made a decision to load me and go. And that’s what saved my life, really. So, a miracle there, right? If they hadn’t taken me when they did, I didn’t have that much longer left to go with the heart condition that I suffered,” he said.

Then came the surgery to repair his heart which had been ripped out its cavity. Doctors later told Myer they had only heard of two such surgeries ever being successful.

“Just having that repaired was a miracle in itself,” he said.

On Thursday, two days after returning home from being in the hospital and a rehab center for 45 days, Myer took time to express his gratitude for his family, his fellow troopers, the doctors who treated him and the community for their immense support.

“It’s just a big relief to be here,” he said from his living room.

On Feb. 13, Myer — a veteran trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol — was helping with a multi-agency enforcement effort when police attempted to stop an SUV suspected in a drug investigation. The vehicle was spotted near 7200 West and 1300 South and an officer attempted to stop it, but his patrol car was hit by the fleeing vehicle.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers were called to assist Salt Lake police and the SUV was spotted again on I-80 taking the 7200 West exit.

Myer said he knew the SUV would be coming back as the road dead ends. As a trooper prepared to set up tire spikes on one side of the two-lane road, Myer arrived to prepare a spike strip on the other side.

“I could see him coming at a high rate of speed,” Myer said, noting that he had to hurry to get the spikes ready. “The mistake that I made was not looking over (the overpass wall) when I first got there. But it was happening so fast that I really didn’t take the time to do it. I should have looked.”

Myer tried to position himself between his patrol truck and the wall for protection. As the fleeing vehicle approached, it swerved toward him, apparently in an effort to avoid the tire spikes from the other lane, he said.

“So I took a big step back to pull my spikes in front of the vehicle. That’s pretty much the last thing I remember. I’m assuming I had about a 2½-foot barrier there. Even though I thought I was off of the structure, I wasn’t quite. I was right on the edge of it. And that step back tripped me, and I just went over backwards. About a 33-foot fall, or so,” he said, noting that he tripped and that going over the wall was not intentional.

Steve "Odie" Myer

Myer explains what happened when he fell 33 feet and repair injured his heart, and shattered his pelvis and ribs. (Winston Armani, KSL TV)

Myer said, fortunately, another trooper saw him go over — another miracle. And after the DPS helicopter helped officers track down the fleeing vehicle, it returned to the overpass where the decision was made to take Myer to the hospital. At that point, he said a medical helicopter hadn’t even taken off yet.

Myer believes that quick action saved his life as doctors later told him he was only 2 to 5 minutes away from not making it by the time he arrived at the hospital.

He went through three surgeries to repair his heart, shattered pelvis and ribs. Myer suffered 15 fractures in his pelvis and says there’s a high likelihood that he’ll need another surgery in the future for hip replacement.

He spent several weeks in the intensive care unit and even celebrated his 60th birthday while in ICU. He was later moved to a rehab center where he says he did therapy twice a day, every day.

But on Thursday, Myer said it seems like the accident happened just a few days ago.

Today, he needs a wheelchair to get around. Myer said he is able to put pressure on his right leg, but his left side still isn’t healed enough. He says being in a wheelchair has given him much more admiration for people who are wheelchair-bound and the tasks they perform each day.

“Little tasks like washing your hands, brushing your teeth, getting into bed is a different thing. So I have a lot of respect for people that are bound to a wheelchair now that I probably didn’t think that much about before,” he said. “Getting dressed … somebody’s got to help ya til you learn how to do it.”

Myer says he is very grateful for the support he has received from all over.

“The support is just crazy,” he said.

It ranges from constant phone calls and text messages from friends and neighbors, to visits from fellow troopers and lawmakers. Myer joked that he “can’t eat any more cookies,” noting the number of gifts he has received.

His biggest support is from his family and his wife whom he calls his “angel” and has been by his side every day. Myer, who has five grandchildren, also praised the help he has received from his son, who is also a state trooper, and his daughter, a nurse practitioner.

Myer says there is a “really good probability” he will walk again. After that, he would like to return to the Utah Highway Patrol, possibly for another six years.

“I do want to work again, that’s my goal,” he said.

For now, Myer said he’ll just have to “wait and see what the next (miracle) is.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Little boy with a cowboy hat smiles...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Utah family praying for recovery after son’s near-drowning in creek

A central Utah family is hoping for a miracle for their little boy who disappeared into a creek and was rescued a mile downstream in Beaver County.

2 hours ago

FILE - This combination of 2017-2022 photos shows the logos of Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Snapch...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Scammers offer to help regain control of hacked social media accounts for a fee

People are advertising they can help you get back into your hacked social media accounts. It is a lie.

2 hours ago

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall shares the 2024-25 recommended budget at a Salt Lake City Coun...

Mary Culbertson

SLC Mayor Mendenhall proposes her salary increase by 26% amid turbulent budget meetings

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall proposed a 26% salary increase for herself in the city's budget proposal meetings. Her office argues it's a deserved and overdue increase, while constituents question the amount.

2 hours ago

After a family's RV burst into flames on I-15, RV experts have advice for RV travelers ahead of Mem...

Dan Rascon

After RV bursts up in flames on I-15, RV experts have tips for Memorial Day travelers

A family's RV burst up in flames on I-15 Wednesday. Everyone made it out, but their story comes with multiple warnings for Memorial Day travelers.

2 hours ago

One man was killed in an apparent jet ski crash on East Canyon Reservoir on Wednesday, May 22, 2024...

Andrew Adams and Mary Culbertson, KSL TV

Man dead after apparent jet ski crash at East Canyon State Park

One man is dead after a jet ski crash in Morgan County.

3 hours ago

With the help of Rocky Mountain Service Dog Project, Michael Fink was able to graduate from Utah St...

Mike Anderson

Nonprofit helps veterans get their lives back with K-9 help

A veterans is crediting his dog for making it possible for him over come his PTSD, making it possible for him to graduate from Utah State University.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Trooper who fell off bridge credits several miracles for his survival