Strangers step in to help man crushed between 2 vehicles

Emergency responders work to free a man pinned between two vehicles on East Hilton Drive, St. George, Utah, Dec. 20, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Woodbury family, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man pinned between two vehicles was rescued and transported to the hospital after a motorist stopped after hearing his calls for help Wednesday morning and flagged down a second motorist who stopped to assist.

Shortly after 9 a.m. officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to East Hilton Drive for a traumatic injury incident after a bystander called 911.

Emergency responders work to free a man pinned between two vehicles East Hilton Drive, St. George, Utah, Dec. 20, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Woodbury family, St. George News

Gold Cross paramedics were just blocks away when the call came over the radio and were able to respond to the scene in less than a minute, St. George Fire Department’s Battalion Chief Darren Imlay said.

Firefighters and police arrived shortly after and found the injured man pinned between a pickup truck and a trailer transporting a minivan.

Emergency personnel were placed on either side of the man for support and airbags were placed between the front of the minivan and the rear bumper of the pickup truck, then inflated slowly to prevent the minivan from moving forward.

With the airbags in place, the minivan was placed in neutral and rolled backward, which freed the man and allowed responders to see the extent of his injuries.

He was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center for evaluation and treatment for what appeared to be a serious injury to his leg.

Imlay said the man was in between the truck and the minivan making adjustments when the incident occurred, adding:

“It’s possible that something didn’t work properly with the hydraulic mechanism because all of a sudden the minivan moved all the way forward and locked in place, pinning the driver.”

St. George resident LuAnna Dewey, who called 911, said she was driving on East Hilton Drive and pulled her vehicle to the side of the road when she heard a man yelling for help.

The scene where a man was saved after being pinned between two vehicles on East Hilton Drive, St. George, Utah, Dec. 20, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Woodbury family, St. George News

Even before getting out of her vehicle she said she knew the man was in dire need of help because he was pinned between two vehicles with his feet suspended several inches off the ground.

“I pulled over and as soon as I looked at him I knew he was in a very bad situation,” Dewey said.

Imlay made a similar assessment of the injured man’s predicament, saying, “he appeared to be crushed pretty good when we showed up.”

The injured man asked her to call 911, which she did immediately. Seconds later, Dewey said she noticed a pickup truck heading down a dirt road nearby and motioned to the driver to stop.

The man pulled over and ran to where the injured man was pinned and disconnected the battery from the trailer in the hopes that it would release the mechanism holding the trailer in place, allowing him to free the man. However, the trailer didn’t budge.

Imlay said that in some instances injuries can be made worse when bystanders, trying to help, either move the individual or in this case attempt to move the minivan.

That was not the case in Wednesday’s incident, he said, and disconnecting the battery may not have released the trailer but it was a good safety decision nonetheless.

“These bystanders did a great job, and I’m glad that they did what they could do without doing too much because they really helped that guy,” Imlay said.

Dewey said she was grateful for the man in the pickup truck who stopped to help and, while she never got his name, she will remember him.

Worried about the injured man’s condition, Dewey visited him at the hospital with the family’s permission the following day.

“He told me his leg was shattered but it could have turned out so much worse, but it didn’t – he’s still alive,” Dewey said.

Imlay added, “He’s a very lucky man because this could have been a whole different situation.”

This report is based on statements from witnesses and emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • and December 22, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    It’s great to live in a community where people will stop to help those in need. God bless those who rendered assistance!

  • PlanetU December 22, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Bless you LuAnna Dewey, you are special as is the unidentified man in the pick up. Wonderful that you stopped and helped this man.

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