Heroic Truck Driver Purposely Crashes Rig To Save Othersby Jana Ritter - Published: 5/25/2016
A truck driver is being hailed a hero after risking his own life to save the lives of complete strangers by purposely crashing his big rig to avoid hitting them. The incident occurred on Monday when Richard Hughes came upon backed up traffic caused by another accident on the IDL in Tulsa, OK. His selfless act caused him to be pinned inside his truck for several hours before he was rescued but he thankful to come out of the ordeal with only a broken leg.
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"I just did what I had to do. I mean, I knew I wasn't going to hit them, people," Hughes told the media from his hospital bed. He also said that he never expected he’d ever end up in the hospital from simply doing his job. But driving a big rig has many dangers whether you expect it or not, especially when you’re sharing the road with other drivers. On Monday Hughes had been on his way home after a day of work and was driving his empty tanker truck along the IDL when he suddenly saw people ahead, standing near their crashed cars. It turns those motorists had been trying to avoid hitting a white Nissan that was backing up on the highway after missing an exit. Hughes explained that once he realized he didn’t have enough time to stop and certainly didn't want to risk running over the people, he did what he had to do to save their lives. He slammed his brakes and drove up a concrete embankment, leaving his fate up to God.
Hughes said the first thing he thought when he started making the abrupt stop was to pray. “When I seen the big pole coming I just started...I was praying,” he said. “Praying that it wouldn't be my last day. I think God has his hand on me. Yeah, it was scary.” His truck ended up smashing into an overhead signpost and Hughes ended up with his foot pinned in between truck parts and the street pole. While he was certainly thankful realizing that he was still alive, Hughes admits it was pretty hellish being trapped with his leg pinned for two hours, which he said felt more like two days. But he thanks the firefighters who worked tirelessly to get him out of the wreckage. "They kept after it, they were great, they were good. I'm going to see them soon as I get out," he said. Hughes is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days.
According to firefighters, Hughes had immediately given them the thumbs up that he was okay and kept a brave face as they worked through the mangled machinery to release his leg. They credit their training for the rescue because it’s the exact type of freak accident they are taught to deal with. "We know it's expensive and there are budget constraints in any city or state operation right now, okay, but training is important and we have to continue to spend that money and we ask that everybody support us in that. And the outcome like yesterday shows a need for that," said Stan May of the Tulsa Fire Department.
According to state Troopers the driver who caused the ordeal admitted to backing up on the freeway but said he didn’t know he had caused an accident and left the scene. So far, he has only been sited for improper backing on a roadway. But Richard Hughes is just happy to be alive and says he do it again if it meant saving the lives of others.