Most have read about the two car accident yesterday near Big Star on Wood Avenue. Initial reports were confusing. Had one driver’s vehicle slid into a culvert or Cox Creek? It actually slid over the culvert into the creek…approximate two feet deep. The victim’s SUV was upside down; in other words, he was unconscious and drowning.
It was cold yesterday, but several Florence residents put all thoughts of their own comfort aside. Unfortunately, PNS has the names of only four of the heroes: Tony & Sadie Roberts, LaDrake Roy, and Randy Strickland.
Tony Roberts lives nearby the scene of the accident. This is his account:
Around 10:37, Sadie went outside to take the trash out. She ran back inside and told me to call the police. She said something about an accident near the grocery store across the street. I grabbed my phone, stepped outside and called Florence PD.
I could see one SUV in the road but I didn’t see any other vehicles. All of a sudden, I saw people running up from a tree line into the parking lot. Sadie then said something about a vehicle going into the creek.
I grabbed my keys and we jumped into the truck. It only took a few seconds to get there. We got out of the truck and people were telling us that someone was trapped upside down in their car under the water. My crazy wife ran down and jumped into the creek. Her crazy husband was right behind her. There were already a few people in the water getting ready to flip the vehicle over.
Folks, those heroes did just that. Race didn’t matter. Age didn’t matter. All that mattered was helping the person trapped underwater. Sadie was pushing the car and as I got around to the front of the vehicle, they were already flipping it over.
Emergency responders arrived shortly after that and were able to get the driver out of the vehicle. Paramedics got him into the ambulance and took him to a nearby parking lot to be life flighted to the hospital.
Please say a prayer for the gentleman that was inside of the car. He did appear to be conscious at times…..Praise God.
Think of those amazing citizens that came together to help him. They jumped into that cold water like it was nothing. I saw one guy that had to be late teens to early 20’s and another that had to be late 50’s to early 60’s. No capes, just big hearts. Heroes.
LaDrake Roy stopped initially because he thought he knew someone in the accident. It took him only a few seconds to decide to jump into the cold water to help. LaDrake is a UNA graduate who currently lives in North Florence. You may have read his name in the paper before since he played football at UNA. We’re not knocking his football talent, but jumping into a freezing creek to help save someone has to be a jewel in the crown of a lifetime.
We’ve also been given the name Randy Strickland, but we don’t have any information on Randy. If you know this real-life hero, please let us know. Yes, there were others, but we don’t have their names. If you know who else stopped to help, please e-mail us.
Saluting everyone who placed the life of someone they didn’t know before their own safety and comfort!