Kelly Winters was on his way in from his Chapin home to his job as a senior charge nurse in the cardiac intensive care unit at Providence when he ran into a situation calling for a different sort of intensive care.
He came upon an accident on Interstate 26 involving a Richland County sheriff’s vehicle, another car and an 18 wheeler.
Since Providence is a client of ADCO, we were prouder than most to read what happened next.
As a former paramedic and firefighter, he got out to see if he could help.
Then, the situation got much worse in a big hurry. As The State reported it this morning:
“It was this 18-wheeler tanker truck, already on the concrete median, just sliding straight at us,” Winters said. “Flames were already shooting out … So, we looked at each other and both said ‘Run.’ We ran like the devil was behind us.”
Winters said he and Baker got a few hundred feet away from the fuel tanker, which was carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline, when he heard a woman’s voice calling for help.
“I turned around and started running back toward the tanker truck, and I can see it’s on its side,” Winters said. “There is someone standing in the truck with their head poking out of the passenger side window. It was a woman screaming for help.”
Winters and Baker climbed on top of the cab and tried to pull the driver from the cab of the truck but couldn’t. By this time, flames were already reaching the door on which they were standing. That was when Winters noticed the front windshield was slightly dislodged.
“I jumped off the top of the truck, dropped down to the windshield, kicked it about two or three times to dislodge it some more,” Winters said. “I was able to get my hands in and pull it back out and bent it in half so there was a passageway through the windshield at the bottom.”
By that time the flames became too hot for Winters and Baker to stay close to the vehicle. They began urging the woman to crawl through the windshield and to the safety of their helping hands.
He and the deputy, John Baker, grabbed her and started to pull her away — and heard explosions behind them. The resulting fire would block traffic on the highway for several hours.
Amazingly, no one was killed or severely injured. But he told The State that “his car, phone, wallet and wife’s engagement ring, which he was taking to a shop to be resized, melted in the flames.”
His wife was just glad to get him home safe after that.
And we’re glad, and proud, to have a guy like Kelly Winters working with us at Providence.
To read more, and see video of Kelly telling his story, go to thestate.com.