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Choking Trucker Gives Himself the Heimlich by Crashing

In what may be the most dramatic self heimlich maneuver ever performed, a Pennsylvania truck driver saved his own life Tuesday morning by crashing into a concrete median.

While eating an apple on the road, 55-year-old Richard Paylor started choking, then lost consciousness. His tractor-trailer veered into the central barricade on a highway near Reading, PA., and upon impact, his body slammed into the steering wheel. This dislodged an apple chunk stuck in Paylor's throat, saving his life.

According to the Reading Eagle, the police retrieved the dislodged piece of apple from the dashboard. Local doctors agreed with their assessment of what must have happened.

Paylor was treated in Reading Hospital and made it back home by Tuesday evening, alive and well.

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Natalie Wolchover was a staff writer for Live Science from 2010 to 2012 and is currently a senior physics writer and editor for Quanta Magazine. She holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Tufts University and has studied physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Along with the staff of Quanta, Wolchover won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory writing for her work on the building of the James Webb Space Telescope. Her work has also appeared in the The Best American Science and Nature Writing and The Best Writing on Mathematics, Nature, The New Yorker and Popular Science. She was the 2016 winner of the  Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award, an annual prize for young science journalists, as well as the winner of the 2017 Science Communication Award for the American Institute of Physics.