KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Christopher Caldwell just got off the phone with his wife telling her he’d be home for dinner Monday night when he pulled around the corner on Kanawha State Forest Road and saw a car in a ditch with the driver’s side door pinned to the hillside. Caldwell immediately pulled over and joined the rescue efforts, but they couldn’t get the driver out and the car was filling with smoke.
“We were pulling on his legs his arms we were trying everything and just trying to catch our breath and go back in and I kept saying ‘Lord give us the strength give us the strength to get this man out of here’,” Caldwell tells 13 News.
That’s when Kanawha County Deputy of the Year Ashley Keadle arrived on the scene.
“A bunch of people were screaming ‘there’s somebody in the vehicle it’s on fire’,” she says.
“So she runs in and just selflessly just right in there with us and we are trying to pull him out the fire was getting bigger and stronger,” adds Caldwell.
Both Keadle and Caldwell along with the others were fighting with everything in them to get the man, three times Keadle’s size, out of the car.
“The whole time I’m telling myself ‘Ashley you can’t let this guy die in front of you cannot let this guy burn up in front of you’ I was going to do anything it took to get him out of that vehicle,” Keadle says.
Deputy Keadle along with the group of citizens made one final try to get the driver out.
“I put my feet against the door frame and put all my weight into it and there was a guy behind me with one arm and a guy with another arm and we all just pulled we all pulled and thank God we were able to get him out of the vehicle … it couldn’t have been 15 seconds later we heard an explosion and a car blow up,” adds Keadle.
“I have no question, no doubt in my mind that they saved this man’s life and that is what we are there for to protect and help the citizens and to know citizens took it upon themselves to help Deputy Keadle was great,” says Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford.
Sheriff Rutherford recognizing both the citizens and the deputy, knowing heroes can come in all shapes and sizes.
Deputy Keadle and the driver were both transported to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Keadle was released that night. We are still waiting for more information on the driver’s condition.