Mystery Good Samaritan Steps Forward, Credits Help From Above In Rescue

coal-truck-fire-11MADISON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – The Good Samaritan passerby who reached in and pulled a driver out of a fiery truck crash near Route 861 last Friday afternoon has stepped forward and is also crediting some divine assistance.

Charlie Wyant, owner of the Fiddler Run Farm in New Bethlehem and an equine dentist, was driving on Route 861 when he saw the flames coming from the truck driven by Mike Wiant. (It is merely a coincidence that the two have names that sound the same, but have different spellings.)

Wyant told exploreJeffersonpa.com, “The truck was down in the creek, and the engine compartment was pretty much on fire.”

“I knew down there I wouldn’t have phone service, so I hollered down and asked if there was anyone in the truck. Mike hollered back, ‘Yeah, and I can’t get out.’ My heart just sunk at that time.”

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Looking back at the accident Tuesday night, Wyant feels it is miraculous that the man lived. (Wyant in photo by Deborah Deasy of Pine Creek Journal examining a patient.)

“I started down over the bank and said, ‘Lord, you’ve got to help me,’” explained Wyant.

Photo courtesy Deborah Deasy/Tribune Review.

“There were already six or eight foot flames coming off of that truck. I got down there and asked him if he had a fire extinguisher, but Mike said, ‘No.’ He couldn’t see because the smoke had basically blinded him.”

Wiant had managed to get his shoulders out through the driver’s side window, but couldn’t move any more than that.

“I climbed up between the front and middle axle onto the bed and onto the cab. I pulled on him twice to try and pull him out, but he never moved. I asked if his feet were on something and he said, ‘No, but there’s nothing I can push on.'”

“I looked at Mike right in the eyes and said, ‘You’ve got to help me,’ because I was afraid at that point he wasn’t coming out. I pulled on him with all my might and said, ‘Lord give me strength.’ This is no exaggeration. That man popped up through the window.”

“At that point, he was on fire. We stripped the coat off, and at that point, the fire had already spread to his shirt, so I told him to jump into the creek. I jumped in the lake with him, and he got the fire off his back, and I just splashed water on him, and that put the rest of the flames out.”

Some additional passerby’s also helped move Wiant up over the bank.

STAT MedEvac was dispatched to transport the driver to an unknown hospital. Sligo VFD set up a landing zone at the Rimersburg Fairgrounds. According to Clarion County OES, Clarion-based State Police, Rimersburg VFD, Southern Clarion County Ambulance, Clarion County EMA, Bauer Truck Repair, and Central Electric were dispatched to the scene.

Wyant said he was able to visit Wiant in the hospital Tuesday, and he also talked with his family.

“I want to respect him and his family’s privacy, and that’s my main concern. We had a great visit. He’s doing well. I hope everyone will respect the family’s request for privacy.”

Through conversation, another odd coincidence was discovered. Charlie and his brother and Mike’s children were in 4-H together about 25 years ago.

The quiet hero has faith that he had help with the rescue.

“The only thing that prepares us for anything is how we live each and every day,” said Wyant.


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