Unique vehicle safety feature may have saved driver who drove off side of parking garage
Features in the luxury vehicle that fell from the seventh floor of a Downtown Austin parking garage last month may have played a big factor in saving the life of the driver.
On Thursday, security video from a docking bay across the downtown alley shows a GMC Suburban take some of the blow from the falling BMW convertible.
William Burch was behind the wheel of the Suburban at the time of the crash and made it out uninjured.
"The police officer said he saw the video, he said luckily you were moving forward otherwise it would have landed right on top of you," said Burch.
When Michael Tyler Pelham of Luxury Auto Works saw the video released Thursday, his initial reaction was, "Thank God she was in a BMW."
"That car would have made the difference between life and death especially considering the fact that it was a convertible," said Pelham.
The active head restraint system played a major factor in the survival of the driver, said Pelham.
"So when the car falls upside down the beams hit the ground first pushing the vehicle off the pavement giving you ample room to crawl out of the vehicle and not crush your head," he said.
Representative from the dealership tell CBS Austin the driver who survived the seven-story fall off the parking garage recently bought the same car -- after the crash.
A spokesperson from the owner of the parking garage said, "The car hit the barriers at a rate of speed sufficient to break through and hit the building across the alley."
A similar incident happened in September of last year, but on a different floor. The driver was able to be pulled from the car that was caught by guide wires on the axle of the SUV. No one was injured.
The spokesperson added "After the previous incident, we engaged a structural engineer to review the situation, and repairs to the safety barriers were performed according to his recommendation. The City of Austin permitted and inspected such repairs to their satisfaction."
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration lists safety ratings for all vehicles for sale in the U.S.