Jason Nierescher ran “a million miles an hour, 18 hours a day” working for a medical device company and running his family’s automotive repair shop. An engineer and entrepreneur, he had little patience for time away from work. When his family wanted to vacation in California, he nixed it as too expensive and time-consuming.
Then one day in November 2014, he says, “Things were clarified. I had a realigning of priorities.”
While traveling down a two-lane Michigan road in his beloved Chevy Silverado 2500HD, Jason realized too late that a garbage truck was blocking his lane. He veered, hoping to avoid impact, but his Silverado crashed into the large, loaded garbage truck.
“I remember swerving toward the other lane and thinking to myself in that fraction of a second that the option of rolling my truck over in the field was better than making contact with the back of the truck,” Jason says. “For one split second I thought I missed the truck, just before I heard a horrifying crunch of metal and glass and the deafening sound of the air bag deployment, and I quickly realized it was no near miss.
“As the truck came to rest,” Jason adds, “I remember the absolute silence as my ears were deafened by the noise, and then I could hear the glass settling inside the truck and the intermittent pop of the steel. The truck was filled with the smells of hot coolant, diesel fuel, motor oil and, worst of all, the caustic odor of the battery acid. As I sat there crushed within my truck trying to gasp a breath of fresh air I realized I was still alive — not unhurt but alive.”
People attempting to free him from the wreckage all assumed someone else called emergency, so no one called. Thankfully, Jason’s truck was equipped with OnStar, which had automatically connected with an OnStar Advisor who pinpointed his exact location and contacted emergency responders. The OnStar Advisor, Automatic Crash Response* and Injury Severity Prediction were diligently at work behind the scenes.
“This is where I started to learn just how much went into keeping me safe inside my truck,” Jason says. “The first police car arrived and assured me more help was coming because they already knew of the severity of the crash from the connection to my truck through the OnStar system.”
In a crash, built-in sensors in your OnStar-equipped vehicle can detect when a collision has occurred and transmit that information to a specially trained OnStar Advisor, who can pinpoint your vehicle’s location, call for help and provide medical treatment options until first responders arrive.
In addition, Injury Severity Prediction, exclusive to OnStar, uses an algorithm to analyze the crash data collected by the sensors within the vehicle and determine the likelihood of severe injuries, so Advisors can alert first responders to send the appropriate help.
Jason says it’s one of the reasons he survived, because the nature of his injuries made every moment count. “I appreciate the thought that went into the OnStar technology,” he says. “Even if most people don’t know it is there or doubt they will ever need it, it’s built into the vehicle to help protect its occupants.”
Jason’s lengthy recovery has included multiple surgeries for a significant number of broken bones, including his back, as well as a long stay in rehabilitation. “While all of these injuries are severe, what is important is I am still alive and able to go home to my wife and two precious children to enjoy what my life is all about,” he says.
Little things matter now more than ever for Jason.
As soon as he was released from rehabilitation, he took his wife, Leslie, and their 7-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter to California so they could enjoy that vacation. “It was one of those things I really appreciated more than I could have before,” he says. “The crash was a life-changing moment that I will never take for granted.”
Jason has since purchased another Silverado 2500HD, and needless to say, it has OnStar. Prior to the crash, Jason and Leslie briefly discussed canceling their OnStar service to save money. However, Leslie said if they ever had an accident, OnStar would pay for itself.
“Thankfully, we never canceled it,” Jason says. “It is an asset beyond value.”