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A television reporter in West Virginia was struck by a car live on air: ‘My whole life just flashed before my eyes’

A pedestrian crossed 4th Avenue as snow fell on Jan. 6 in Huntington, W.Va.Sholten Singer | The Herald-Dispatch/Associated Press

A television reporter covering cold weather in West Virginia was struck by a car while live on air Wednesday night and continued the broadcast.

Tori Yorgey, a reporter for WSAZ-TV, was on the scene of a water main break in Dunbar, W.Va., and preparing to answer a question from the anchor in the studio when a car hit her from behind, sending Yorgey into her camera before she fell over offscreen.

“Oh my god. I just got hit by a car, but I’m ok. I just got hit by a car, but I’m ok, Tim,” Yorgey said.

The video has spread across social media, prompting comments that praised her composure and raised safety concerns for multi-media journalists who report on the ground by themselves, bringing equipment along in sometimes dangerous conditions. The video has been viewed more than 1.5 million times on Twitter.

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Someone is heard in the distance asking Yorgey if she’s ok, and she responds, while still off camera: “I’m ok, yeah, you know that’s live TV for you. It’s all good. I actually got hit by a car in college, too, just like that. I am so glad I’m ok.”

“You’re ok. You’re ok. We’re all good. You know what, it’s all one-woman band. We’re good, Tim,” Yorgey continued.

“Are you sure you’re ok, Tori?” anchor Tim Irr asked her.

While still on live television, Yorgey appears to be speaking to the person who hit her.

“Ma’am, you are so sweet and you are ok,” Yorgey said. “It is all good,”

Yorgey added that it is her “last week on the job and I [thought] this would happen.”

Irr then asks Yorgey where she was hit, whether it was “down low or up high.” Yorgey, appearing shaken and out of breath, asks a man standing near her and said: “I don’t even know, Tim. My whole life just flashed before my eyes. But this is live TV and everything’s ok. I thought I was in a safe spot but clearly we might need to move the camera over a bit.”

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Yorgey continues that the woman who hit her was “so nice.”

“She didn’t mean to. It was an accident. I know it was and I’m ok. Everything’s fine,” Yorgey said. “But again, Tim, we’ll get back to the report,” before she continues covering the weather conditions.

On Twitter Wednesday night, Irr said that Yorgey “says she’s ok. But she’s headed to the ER to be checked out just in case.”

Some of the responses on Twitter pointed to Irr’s reaction as Yorgey was hit, noting he did not seem alarmed as his colleague was struck by a car.

On Twitter, during an exchange with Keith Olbermann, who has covered sports and politics on air, Irr clarified that in the studio, there was a “tiny monitor off to the side, about 20 feet away,” adding that it was “basically audio only.”

In another response to Olbermann on Twitter, Irr continued: “Peripheral vision showed me movement of some kind. But only after she jumped up and said she was ok and explained what happened is when I realized it. Frightening moment for Tori. She’s young, but is a pro for sure.”

Other Twitter reactions, many of which were from women television reporters, noted the dangers to multi-media journalists who report on live news and operate the camera, lighting, and microphone equipment by themselves.

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Kyle Jones, an NBC reporter in New Haven, Conn., raised a number of questions about Yorgey’s report, including why she was operating her own live report in the dark late at night and whether the news was serious enough to warrant reporting in the conditions.

A request for comment sent to WSAZ on Thursday was not immediately returned.

Temple Ricke, a television reporter in Nashville, described the incident as representing “a complete disregard for safety.”

“News Directors, STOP requiring reporters to run their own live shots,” Ricke wrote. “For those not familiar with the situation, she does not have a photographer. She is alone, in the dark.”


Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.