Quick action saves trucker's life - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Quick action saves trucker's life

 September 20, 2007

Tift County --   What was once an eighteen wheeler, is now a melted pile of charred wreckage.

"There was flames everywhere," said Eyewitness James Lawrence, who works for Archer Western Contractors.   

Thirty feet away, the construction crane it crashed into in the I-75 median near the Tift-Cook County line around 6:30 Thursday morning.  "He traveled off the roadway, struck a barrier, went into the median struck a crane. Actually went into this hole here," said Trooper Melvin Simmons of the Georgia State Patrol.

The crash closed both lanes I-75 while firefighters battled fuel-fed flames.

Police say the driver of the of the tractor trailer, 41-year-old Jose Alberto Rilando, was swerving for about a mile while traveling in the northbound lane before he slammed into the crane.

"Witnesses advised that he was ejected from cab," said Trooper Simmons.

In the midst of the smoldering wreckage, the trucker lay injured. What happened next, was an act of courage. "I seen the driver of the vehicle, rappelled over there next to the ditch. The first thing I could do was grab him and pull him to safety," Said Paul Stephens of Archer Western Contractors.   

On the ground near the burning rig and crane, Stephens rushed to the injured trucker's aid. "I took my personal shirt off, applied a tourniquet around his right leg. His foot was severely amputated. He was coherent. I just did what any normal person would do," said Stephens.

A hard-hatted hero in the eyes of others. "Very few people would do that. It takes some guts to go out there, while the flames are all around you for you to run and up do that. We're proud to have a man like that working for us," said Lawrence.

And that deserves a pat on the back.   The driver of the truck is at Tift Regional Medical where he underwent surgery.

The Georgia State Patrol says the accident remains under investigation.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=Semi-CraneWreck-CF

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Residents prepare for storm chances over holiday weekend

    Residents prepare for storm chances over holiday weekend

    Saturday, May 26 2018 5:21 PM EDT2018-05-26 21:21:51 GMT
    James Lawrence. (Source: WALB)James Lawrence. (Source: WALB)

    With Alberto expected to impact Southwest Georgia, you can never be too prepared when it comes to the safety of you and your family. As the rain and thunderstorms move through our area, Albany residents say their holiday plans are changing.

    More >>

    With Alberto expected to impact Southwest Georgia, you can never be too prepared when it comes to the safety of you and your family. As the rain and thunderstorms move through our area, Albany residents say their holiday plans are changing.

    More >>
  • Albany town hall meeting held to tackle diabetes awareness

    Albany town hall meeting held to tackle diabetes awareness

    Saturday, May 26 2018 5:17 PM EDT2018-05-26 21:17:40 GMT
    City leaders held a town hall to discuss diabetes in South Georgia. (Source: WALB)City leaders held a town hall to discuss diabetes in South Georgia. (Source: WALB)
    City leaders held a town hall to discuss diabetes in South Georgia. (Source: WALB)City leaders held a town hall to discuss diabetes in South Georgia. (Source: WALB)

    Dougherty County is ranked 3-percent higher than the national average of people diagnosed with diabetes. 

    More >>

    Dougherty County is ranked 3-percent higher than the national average of people diagnosed with diabetes. 

    More >>
  • Saturday's rain didn't keep boaters from the water

    Saturday's rain didn't keep boaters from the water

    Saturday, May 26 2018 5:15 PM EDT2018-05-26 21:15:40 GMT
    The Kinchafoonee Creek. (Source: WALB)The Kinchafoonee Creek. (Source: WALB)
    The Kinchafoonee Creek. (Source: WALB)The Kinchafoonee Creek. (Source: WALB)

    Despite the scattered showers, we saw Saturday some people just couldn't resist hitting the water. In the morning, the Kinchafoonee Creek was at a good water level for boaters. 

    More >>

    Despite the scattered showers, we saw Saturday some people just couldn't resist hitting the water. In the morning, the Kinchafoonee Creek was at a good water level for boaters. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly