“Thank God for seatbelts, airbags, and fire extinguishers,” Texas state trooper Roy Tower told ABC affiliate KLTV after responding to a fiery crash involving a passenger car and a commercial truck Tuesday morning. Those three items, plus the help of another commercial truck driver who witnessed the accident and stopped to help, saved the lives of two adults and three children involved in the crash.
Reports say that a woman was traveling on FM726 just east of Gilmer, Texas, with three children she was babysitting when the sun apparently blinded her, causing her car to swerve into the 18-wheeler’s path and clip its front tire. The truck then jackknifed and the vehicles spun out of control. Both the car and truck crashed and the car burst into flames.
Another commercial driver who saw the accident stopped to help. “The car was on fire and as a commercial vehicle we carry fire extinguishers and flares in the truck and we ran and grabbed our fire extinguishers out of the truck and extinguished the fire on the car,” the driver, identified as Perry Stark, said.
Witnesses were able to put out the fire with extinguishers from the truck and remove the children from the car to safety, but both drivers remained trapped inside their vehicles.
Witnesses tried to free the woman from the wreckage with the Jaws of Life but couldn’t, and the driver of the truck was pinned inside his vehicle for nearly three hours. Emergency responders were eventually able to free both drivers and fly them to a nearby hospital.
“The fact that there were individuals out here with fire extinguishers in their vehicle kept [everyone] alive today,” Trooper Tower told KLTV.
The accident is a stark reminder to all motorists to be extra alert and vigilant whenever driving near 18-wheelers and other large commercial trucks. As driver Stark told KLTV, “A car is not a match for a truck. It’s no match.”