A dump truck driver is alive today after the quick thinking — and strong throwing arm — of a passing motorist helped him to escape from his flaming cab on the New York State Thruway in Buffalo on Monday (March 16th).
Trapped in a Burning Truck
The driver Larry Coulter was hauling 70,000 pounds of crushed stone when a blown tire caused the dump truck to crash into the guardrail. The guard rail punctured the fuel tank during the accident. The dump truck rolled to its side during the collision with the guardrail, leaving Coulter standing on his passenger door. The truck caught on fire and the cab started filling with smoke, but Coulter was unable to escape through the doors. He tried kicking out the windshield, but wasn’t able to break it.
As the tires started to burst, Coulter began to question whether he would make it out of the truck alive.
Passing Motorist Stops To Help
That’s when motorist Ed Brunner stopped to help.
Brunner initially approached the flaming truck with a metal bar, but he couldn’t get close enough to use it because of the heat. So instead he started hurling heavy pieces of concrete that had come loose from the bridge during the accident, in spite of the fact that he had just had shoulder surgery. The first hunk of concrete cracked the windshield. The second broke the windshield enough that Coulter was able to kick his way out and crawl out of the truck. Then Brunner guided Coulter across a narrow guardrail 40 feet above the ground to get the truck driver to safety.
After Coulter was safely in the hands of emergency personnel, Brunner left the scene before Coulter could thank him for the rescue.
For more on the story and to see the reunion between Coulter and his rescuer, see the video below.