WTVM Photographer's Instincts Save His Life

WTVM camera in pieces after accident
WTVM camera in pieces after accident

WTVM's Paul Therrien is one lucky photographer. He was blind sided by a pickup truck as he was shooting a news story Thursday, and lived to tell about it.

Therrien and News Leader 9 Consumer Reporter Zaneta Lowe had gone to Cook County, Georgia for an early morning raid by the State Insurance Commissioner's Office. Agents advised him in advance to stay off private property, so Therrien stood at the edge of the road to get his pictures.

What saved his life was an instinctive step toward the property when he heard a car coming.  It turned out to be a large pickup truck with gigantic side mirrors, one of which slammed into the back of Therrien's camera as the truck went by. The sudden impact propelled the camera either over or around Therrien's head, and sent the 55-year old photographer spinning to the ground. Incredibly, he never lost consciousness and somehow avoided serious injury.

Therrien's neck and the back of his head took most of the force, but he suffered neither a concussion nor a skull fracture. He did complain of a sore shoulder later, the non-shooting left one, on which he landed.

Seeing his $40,000 camera in pieces by the roadside almost moved Therrien to tears, but as co-workers told him later, "Equipment can be replaced, people can't."  He was taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital in Adel, and as we say in the business was treated and released.

Both he and Lowe are grateful to another journalist on the scene, Ben Wolf of WCTV in Tallahassee, Florida. Wolf shared his footage of the arrests since News Leader 9's coverage was so suddenly cut short.

As for Therrien, it wasn't his first brush with death. Three years ago he hit a deer while driving to a high school football game in a WTVM news van. He walked away from that accident too.

A friend says, "We may have to start calling him The Cat, because he apparently has nine lives."