Eldredge Helps Pull Victims Out Of Fiery Car Wreck
|Shawn Eldredge joined with others to rescue several people from two burning vehicles December 22. Photo by Zach Read.|
(Story by Ed Bettinger)
After completing his Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) job duties for the day, Shawn Eldredge, network apprentice 2nd year-Mid Metro Tulsa Distribution, was working in the garage at his rural home west of Sapulpa, Okla. It was early evening December 22, and he expected his wife to arrive home at any moment.
Out on Highway 33, a two-lane road about a quarter-mile distant, the scattered evening traffic sailed by at a steady pace with tires humming.
The tranquil scene was abruptly shattered by the sounds of crunching metal and squealing brakes.
Eldredge bolted from his garage and ran to the highway, fearing at first that his wife might’ve been involved in a car wreck just as she was getting home.
Reaching the road, he found not his wife’s vehicle, but a three-car accident. One vehicle was lying on its side and another was erupting in flames. Worse, both vehicles were still occupied.
Eldredge ran to the burning car where a Creek County sheriff’s deputy, who’d happened upon the scene, was trying to remove the driver. Learning that the deputy did not have a fire extinguisher in his car, Eldredge sprinted to his home, grabbed two of his own extinguishers, and dashed back. As he sprayed one extinguisher to knock down the fire, the deputy and another passerby smashed out the car’s windshield and got the driver to safety.
Meanwhile, the car that had been knocked onto its side burst into flames. Eldredge, the deputy and others on the scene rushed to remove its occupants. As Eldredge expended the last of his fire extinguishers’ contents, the group of helpers pulled everyone in the car to safety.
Several of the people were hospitalized for their injuries.
State troopers said witnesses reported seeing a car swerving as it headed west and suddenly hit another car, which rolled over several times. There were four people inside.
The original car kept going and hit an SUV with five people inside.
Several small children were in the vehicles.
Eldredge said that neither he nor any of the others who helped at the scene would consider themselves to be “heroes”.
“I’m pretty confident that about anybody would’ve done the same thing. It’s just something you do,” he said. “There were quite a few people just doing what they could do to help.”
Eldredge, who is a 15-year employee, served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps before coming to work at PSO. He and his wife, Allison, are the parents of a 12-month-old daughter.
To learn more about this extraordinary response by Eldredge and the group of strangers who came together to save the lives of the victims, please see the story that aired on KOTV Channel 6 December 23.