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Quick-thinking drivers save trapped trucker
Nalco Champion employees came to the aid of the driver of this 18-wheeler March 25, after an accident trapped the man in the cab of the truck.
Falls City -- For Will Honeycutt, there was no time to think.
Instead, he chose to act when he and fellow Nalco Champion delivery specialist James Dedear spotted an 18-wheel truck overturned on the highway ahead of them about 40 miles south of San Antonio on March 25.
“I knew immediately that if the driver was still in there, he was in big trouble,” Will said.
Will and James quickly parked on the side of the highway and ran to the truck. Inside, they found the driver wedged in his truck’s cab, its steering wheel digging into his bent-over body.
What’s worse, amid broken glass, tangled truck parts, and blood, they saw the driver wasn’t breathing.
“Someone handed me a pocket knife and I cut his seat belt free,” said Will. “James and I turned him a bit where I could get to his head. I did a quick finger sweep of his mouth and glass and blood came out. That’s when he gasped for air.”
In the 15 minutes or so before paramedics and firefighters arrived at the wreck near Falls City on U.S. 181, Will and James held the man’s hands and talked to him as he mumbled replies.
“He went in and out of [consciousness] at least twice, but we knew he was hearing us because he kept squeezing our hands,” James said.
Firefighters used specialized equipment to cut through the crushed truck cab to get the driver, Bradley James Woodward, out. But first they had to pull Will away from the truck, since he wanted to stay and comfort Woodward, onlookers said.
Paramedics rushed the driver to University Hospital in San Antonio. At last report, Woodward was listed in stable condition in the hospital’s Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit, a hospital spokesperson said.
The courage and quick action of the Nalco Champion employees in coming to the aid of the seriously injured trucker brought high praise from company executives.
“This selfless act embodies everything we could ever hope for in our employees,” said Steve Taylor, executive vice president of Ecolab and president of Nalco Champion, headquartered in Houston.
“This represents behavior to aspire to,” said Art Fischetti, vice president, Supply Chain Operations Americas for Nalco Champion. “I am very proud to be able to say so on behalf of our entire team.”
For Will, the experience reinforces why his team and all other Nalco Champion crews share “safety moments” before their shifts begin each day as they travel Texas highways providing products and services to the area’s energy industry.
“It’s a reminder that nobody is promised tomorrow,” Will said. “I just hope and pray that if I’m ever in [Woodward’s] position, someone would come and help me, too.”
According to its website, nalcochampion.com, the company “... provides chemical solutions and on-site services throughout the well life cycle and refinery and petrochemical processes.” The company predicts, diagnoses, circumvents, and solves “complex challenges in every part of the upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas value chain.” Company communications specialist Dwight Daniels said, “We are now the biggest oilfield chemical provider on the planet ... (I am told).”
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