GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — Guntersville police officers say it appears the driver involved in the fiery gas station crash over the weekend fell asleep at the wheel. The truck the man was driving left the highway, collided with a gas pump, and caught fire at Lakeview Tackle and Grocery in Guntersville.
Guntersville police officers say the 2011 Ford F-150 crashed just after midnight Saturday at the intersection of U.S. Highway 431 and AL Highway 79 South. It damaged another vehicle in the process. Luckily, the driver of that SUV was inside the store at the time.
Responders took James Timothy Holmes, from Hartselle, to Huntsville Hospital. He was treated and released.
“Anybody would have done it. You can’t sit there and watch somebody burn,” said Swift Bohanan. He was one of the three people who helped pull the driver away from the burning truck. “Had already pulled him out of the vehicle and they were beginning to drag him back. I run up, grab him by his arms, and we all begin to drag him back.”
“I start worrying about the truck blowing up. It’s on fire, it’s a pretty bad fire. So I move my vehicle in front of him. We had dragged him into the grass.”
Bohanan is a volunteer firefighter. He said they gave the driver first aid until responders got there.
Guntersville Police Lt. Roy Brown said if those three people hadn’t stepped in, they could be working a very different investigation. “Looking at the video, it was pretty obvious he couldn’t get out of the car on his own. It could have been a lot worse. We could be dealing with a fatality right now.”
“We try not to encourage people to get involved a lot, but in situations like that, if someone doesn’t help them, they’re in big trouble,” Lt. Brown said.
Bohanan wants the other two people to step forward so they can be recognized for their quick actions.
Guntersville Police Chief Jim Peterson said he would like to thank them. One of them left the scene quickly, and officers say information from a witness led them to believe that he might have a misdemeanor warrant in Arab. The Guntersville and Arab police chiefs said they will ask the judge to dismiss the warrant if it is a minor offense, as repayment for the person’s community service.
An onlooker also posted a video on Facebook.