Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Lodi resident Brian Watts rescues driver from truck engulfed in flames

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 5:58 am, Thu May 31, 2012.

When Lodi resident Brian Watts watched a car slam into a dump truck Wednesday morning, he did not continue on his commute like dozens of other drivers. He stopped.

"There are some people who drive by, and there are some people who stop," he said. "I'm a stopper."

Watts ended up single-handedly rescuing a man from a dump truck engulfed in flames.

Around 10 a.m., Watts was driving west on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd./Charter Way on his way to work. The 37-year-old was driving behind a dump truck when a sedan going east veered into their lane, striking the truck.

The truck turned on its passenger side, sliding up the hill and coming to rest with the driver still trapped inside.

Watts was able to slam on his brakes and call 911. He then realized fuel was leaking from the dump truck and its engine was on fire, starting to burn a nearby tree. The driver was yelling for help.

"I thought, 'If there is anybody in here, then let's get them out of here.' My first thought was the safety of any survivors, No. 1," he said.

Watts took a metal brake stick from his truck, which he uses at his job as a conductor for Union Pacific, and started to bash on the windshield, trying to break it, but was unsuccessful.

When he noticed the truck driver was yelling for help and kicking the driver's side door, he used the brake stick, which is metal and looks similar to an ax, to hook onto the door and help pull it open.

Then, he climbed up onto the wreck — which was still on fire — to help the man.

"I grabbed his forearm, he grabbed mine," Watts said. "He pushed, I pulled," he said.

Once the driver was out of the truck, he wanted to immediately sit down.

"I said, 'No man, the truck is on fire. We gotta go,'" he said.

They sat down near Watts' truck and he checked the man for injuries. Then he went to check on the driver of the sedan.

The man was non-responsive, and Watts did not feel a pulse on his carotid artery. The man was taken to a hospital but died, according to CBS 13.

Watts continued to pull debris out of the way as motorists continued to drive by. He spoke with the police and then got back into his own car to drive to his job.

When he got to work, his boss gave him some time to decompress.

"The adrenaline was still pumping. I just kind of was reflecting, 'Wow, what just happened? The immensity,''' Watts said. "I helped someone out, yes, but somebody lost a life this morning. That's horrible."

Watts trained at Columbia College to become a firefighter, but ended up taking a job with the railroad.

While working as a conductor, he has accidentally struck 10 people who were standing on the tracks during his 13-year career, and each time, he gets three days off to deal with trauma.

"The situations I've been in with the railroad have helped me considerably to learn how to deal with an incident. Everything that I'm feeling is totally natural. It's OK to feel happy, angry, or feel joy or sadness. You need to let yourself feel and experience that now," he said.

It wasn't until Thursday that he fully realized how close the accident was.

"In hindsight, my thought was, 'Man, that could've been me,'" he said.

Since Wednesday, Watts has received a barrage of text and Facebook messages saying he's a hero. But he feels like he did nothing different than what police officers, firefighters and paramedics would do.

"People say, 'Brian, you're a hero,' and I'm like, 'Really?' I only did what our men and women do in the fire department everyday," he said.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

More about

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

2 comments:

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 6:46 pm on Sat, Mar 24, 2012.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1804

    Brian: Ms Winters is right...you tried to help and succeeded...you were there for a reason...someday you will figure out why.

     
  • Ann Winters posted at 1:35 am on Sat, Mar 24, 2012.

    Ann Posts: 27

    You stopped, Brian. That makes you a HERO in my eyes.

     

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 99

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists