Former Payson Town Council member Tony Plonski is bruised and aching, but he is happy to be alive after his southbound car rolled over in the median strip on the Beeline Highway near Rye Thursday morning.
Plonski, 77, 208 E. Eidleweiss Circle, and his wife, Elsie, were air-evacuated from the scene of the two-car collision to Scottsdale Osborne Hospital.
Tony Plonski was released the following day with cuts, bruises and "lots of aches and pains," he said Monday. Elsie remains in the hospital and is listed in good condition. Plonski said a CAT-scan has confirmed that she has a break in her neck.
"Maybe we'll find out in a day or two what treatment they intend to follow," Plonski said Monday. "We thank the people for all their prayers and concern. We'll be happy to get out of here."
While his wife remains in the hospital, Plonski is staying with his daughter, Patricia, and son-in-law, David Wolfe, in Tempe.
Department of Public Safety Sgt. Burt Cheney told Plonski that he took the proper evasive action when he tried to avoid another southbound car that cut in front of him from the right-hand lane.
The three Valley residents in the Cadillac were treated and released at Payson Regional Medical Center.
"Fortunately for them, they didn't get badly bruised," Plonski said. "Thank God for that."
The Plonskis were both wearing their seat belts, and Tony Plonski remembers telling his wife, "Hold on, hold on," when he realized that the car was rolling.
Payson Fire Chief John Ross commended the citizens who were at the scene for doing the right thing. Plonski said he heard their voices and they were reassuring, telling him that his wife was OK.
"I called to her and got no response," he said. "I was afraid of what had happened. At the scene they told me she was OK and I knew that meant she was still breathing."
Plonski and his wife were trapped in the car and had to be extricated. He was aware that the paramedics had taken over and were working to get his wife out of the car.
"They're beautiful people," Plonski said. "They tried to do the best they could to make us comfortable."
Plonski said he has been busy trying to get another car. His 1988 Dodge Dynasty was demolished.
"It was a beauty," he said. "The insurance is taking a while, but I'm quite sure I have coverage."
The driver of the other car was cited for not having mandated insurance and for making an improper left hand turn.
Plonski has also been busy taking numerous phone calls from friends and neighbors in Payson.
"We're very thankful to the people of Payson," he said "We love them. After 20 years, I guess they love us, too."