Lowell “Shane” Manis, 45, Ottawa, was listed in fair condition at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Stormont-Vail Hospital in Topeka, a hospital official said.
A 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by Manis was traveling west on U.S. 56 about 6:15 a.m. when Manis apparently fell asleep at the wheel and the vehicle went into the north ditch, became airborne after striking a culvert and hit a farmer’s gate before rolling onto its top, Lt. Steve Lewis, public information officer with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, said.
“The car caught on fire, attracting the attention of some passing motorists who stopped to help,” Lewis said. “They broke out the driver’s side window and pulled him out.”
Manis was transported by ground ambulance to Stormont-Vail Hospital, where he was coherent and talking with family early Wednesday evening, Helen Hood, Manis’ mother-in-law, said.
“He suffered some burns from the airbag, but we are thankful he was wearing his seat belt,” Hood, whose daughter, Ma Linda Manis, is married to the electrician and U.S. Navy veteran, said.
“He’s a union electrician, and he was on his way to work in Topeka,” Hood said.
Shane Manis also suffered a possible broken right ankle and lower right leg injuries, as well as a crushed left knee and other injuries to the left leg that might require surgery, Ma Linda Manis said Wednesday night from the hospital.
The bigger concern at present, she said, are the injuries to his legs.
“It’s too early to tell if he will need surgery,” Manis said. “Right now, they are trying to get the pain under control, but he is doing good.”
The Ottawa couple is thankful for the Good Samaritans who stopped to pull him from the wreck, she said.
“Lots of people stopped to help him, and we are very thankful,” Manis said. “It may be a long road to recovery, but we are just so thankful that he’s alive.”