A former NFL defensive end pulled a truck driver from his flaming rig last week, potentially saving the driver’s life.
The accident happened on May 6th around 5:45 p.m. on East 400 North near North 2300 East in St. Anthony.
The former NFL player, Brandon Blair, was driving on Highway 20 when he witnessed a collision between a train and a semi truck that triggered a fiery explosion and pinned the truck driver inside. Blair quickly called 911 and was waiting for help to arrive when he heard a voice coming from the wrecked, burning truck, so he jumped into action.
“I was on Highway 20 driving to my business when I saw the train hit the truck,” Blair explained.
“There was an explosion right away, and the train was pushing the truck down the tracks. I got on the phone with 911 and started driving down the median to get to the front of the train when it stopped. The [train] conductors clearly couldn’t breathe because of all the smoke in the cab. They warned me not to go near the truck because it was up in flames.”
“It was a conscious decision that I’m going in because he needs help right now,” Blair said to East Idaho News. “I ran up to the window and saw dripping, hot flames all over inside of the truck. I could see a guy in a seatbelt and was able to reach in and get it off of him. He was talking, and I told him we had to get out of here now.”
Blair was then able to climb partially into the wrecked truck and pull 25-year-old trucker, Steven Jenson, out through the rear window of the cab.
“We walked away, and within seconds, the fire on the roof fell down inside, and the whole seat and cab went up in flames,” Bair said. “A few minutes later, there were a couple big booms and explosions.”
Jenson was soon flown to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, but was in stable and “fair” condition by Friday, May 7th. Miraculously, Blair was not burned during the rescue and suffered only a few scratches.
Although the rescue lasted only three minutes, Blair says the experience truly affected him in a way he did not expect.
“I was able to hold it together and be tough, but then I got a little shaky when I heard her [my wife’s] voice,” Bair says. “Being able to go home and put my arms around my kids – it hit me. You never know what’s going to happen in life, and this shows you should hug your family every chance you get.”
Blair says that two teenagers and a few other passerbys stopped to help, and believes that Jensen was meant to live – that’s why the former NFL player was in the right place at the right time, he claims.
“All I can say is this guy was supposed to live. I’m a man of faith, and I’ve learned to listen to your gut and the promptings you get,” Bair says. “The Lord wanted him alive. Things could have gone different a million different directions, but things worked out on his behalf. That’s my conclusion. Whether it was me or someone else, he was supposed to live.”