Sam's Brush With Death

Before Sam Champion started sweating on the "hot seat" during the lightning round, he let "Good Morning America" viewers in on an experience that changed his life.

Champion recounted a day when he was on the road with his driver Bryan Ritzul and looking down when Ritzul suddenly said, "Look out, Sam" or "Sam, look out."

When he looked up, what he saw terrified him: a tractor-trailer out of control and about to crash into them.

"We were in a terrible crash," Champion said, "a frightening car accident and remarkably it was caught on tape by a dashcam mounted on the front of the car."


But both their lives were saved, he said, thanks to Ritzul's quick thinking.

"I thought to myself, 'I have two seconds to make a decision here, whether I go straight under the truck, which would be like a washing machine effect, or stay to the wall,'" Ritzul said. "So actually, I chose to stay to the wall. I thought we had a better chance of survival that way."

Champion had not seen the tape until Tuesday and was taken aback when he finally did.

"I was at a loss for words," he said. "I kind of remember hearing the hits and the scrapes until it was done."

Champion suffered just a minor cut on his foot and Ritzul walked away with a neck and arm injury. No one was killed in the accident.

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"One of the state troopers looked at me and said, 'No, we don't see this every day because people don't walk out of that every day,'" Champion said. "The only reason we are here today is Bryan was smart enough to know in that instant how to handle it."

"If you believe in God, you thank God and I do so I remember doing that," he said. "You really do feel, you really are aware that you are lucky -- that this is a gift. And it's not promised tomorrow. It could've all gone away."