A North Carolina woman was spared from serious injury or worse after a fiery head-on crash, thanks to the quick action of a National Guard sergeant who witnessed the accident.
Charlotte’s WBTV Channel 3 reports that Staff Sergeant Cory Hinkle was driving home to Forest City, North Carolina from his National Guard Base in Charlotte when the car in front of him was involved in a head-on crash, sending smoke and debris everywhere.
Sgt. Hinkle, an Iraq combat veteran, said his military training and battle instincts kicked in, and he knew the smoke engulfing the vehicle and the gasoline pouring onto the highway meant the occupants of the car were in serious danger.
Brandy Guin, 28, was on her way to pick up her two children when an oncoming car struck her vehicle. She suffered a broken ankle and facial fracture in the crash, making it difficult for her to get away from the burning vehicle. When she tried to get out, her broken ankle forced her to fall back in, the Shelby Star reported.
According to the Shelby Star, Sgt. Hinkle and another service member identified as Brandon Foster pulled Ms. Guin from the burning car and set her on the grass.
“As the fire started to spread in my car, the shocks started to explode and hot debris was flying everywhere,” Ms. Guin told WBTV. “He shielded me with his body and said ‘It’s going to have to go through me to get to you.’”
“I’ve been in the military for 15 years. It’s instinct for me,” Sgt. Hinkle told the Shelby Star. “I made the decision right then that if something came off the car, it’d have to go through me first.”
A piece of metal that blasted from the car hit Sgt. Hinkle in the ankle, leaving it bruised and swollen. He told WBTV that he even though his injuries were minor, he wouldn’t hesitate to do it over again.
“It’s a belief in humanity that I have. I have a wife and two daughters and I hope if my wife was in the same situation someone would stop and do the exact same thing,” Sgt. Hinkle told WBTV.
Police haven’t said why the vehicle that struck Ms. Guin’s car had drifted into her lane, but the driver of the second was ticketed for driving left of center.