This archived article was written by: Nathan Manley
What is the cost of a human life? Would you require payment of the said price prior to pulling a stranger out of a burning vehicle? Would it make a difference if they were a family member? Two USU Eastern students had a similar adrenaline pumping experience recently in February. These Golden Eagles, Max Fletcher and Logan Leaming, proved they practice the Golden Rule.
Venturing down to the 2A high school basketball championship in Richfield Feb. 24, they exited the canyon on I-70, roughly 10 miles from Salina where there are some pretty heinous curves. After following the same sedan through the canyon, they didn’t notice it veering off the road after a sharp corner until it was too late. Not once, but twice he over-corrected his car, snapping the front axle, causing the front end to collapse, almost like a nose dive, which forced the vehicle to flip end over end three-full rotations, finally landing upside down on the vehicle’s roof.
Traumatic injuries are inevitable with car crashes involved at that speed and velocity and after witnessing the display of nature’s G Forces, Leaming and Fletcher were praying they wouldn’t be pulling a lifeless body from the twisted metal. Being first on the scene, a feeling of relief washed over them as they approached the mangled car when they found out that number one, there was only a driver in the car at the time of the accident and number two, he was alive.
Still obstacles stood before the would-be heroes. Not only was he an illegal immigrant, he didn’t speak a lick of English, not to mention he was three sheets to the wind. Which was obvious when beer cans were flying out of every window when the car took flight. Luckily, Leaming recently finished a full-time missionary service in Mexico for the LDS church and speaks fluent Spanish. Who knew serving a mission could ever help anyone?
Unfortunately, in this case it didn’t because neither Leaming nor Fletcher are fluent in the eloquent language of a boozer. The effects alcohol has on the nervous system like, slowing our reaction time down and causing someone to be more flaccid, are the conditions experts say we should be in to survive a major impact or rollover type accident. Although the state he was in most likely saved his life, since he wasn’t buckled in, it was now presenting a new threat because he could not grasp the fact that he needed to let them know if and where he was hurt before they pulled him from the overturned car.
Eventually, they realized he didn’t have a neck injury and decided to get him out. Nearly pulling him free only to be snagged by his feet which ironically turned out to be the only injury on his body, which wasn’t yet visible, but very apparent because of his pain driven shrills. After physically lifting the car to get his foot free, it was easy to identify a compound fracture with protruding bones from his ankle which were now exposed.
Once the driver was out of the car and sobering up, Leaming finally put his Spanish to use by interpreting and than calling the drivers family, who only speaks Spanish, and filling them in on all the details and directions to the hospital and so on. Our two heroes really went the extra mile for a man they’d never met before.
There really isn’t a moral to the story except don’t drink and drive. It would be incredibly easy to cast a stone on this guy for driving under the influence, being an illegal immigrant and having no drivers license. Fletcher and Leaming didn’t have to help this guy, in fact, they were in a hurry trying to get to the basketball games. But despite any reasons someone could have for looking down on this guy, they displayed gallant character and exposed their true quality by simply helping another human being in a desperate time of need. Hopefully after reading about their experience, that ideology will be contagious to all of us.