Deputies and Good Samaritan risk lives to help injured driver
By Christine McCarthy
MCGREGOR- Two McLennan County Sheriff's deputies and a civilian are being credited with saving a driver's life after a wreck in McGregor on Wednesday afternoon.
That driver, 48-year-old Freddie Gomez of McGregor, is in critical but stable condition at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center. He suffered extensive head injuries from the crash and needed surgery. A woman who identified herself as Gomez's niece said he is in a coma and she is unsure if he will recover.
Gomez turned right from an inside lane and hit another car near the 31,000 block of E. Highway 84, according to McGregor Assistant Police Chief James Burson.
As his truck burst into flames, Cpl. Brent Ewing, who happened to see the fire nearby, ran to Gomez's aid and called another deputy, Lt. Jimmy Channon, for assistance. When the two couldn't pry open a door, they used a crow bar to smash the windshield and reached in. Meanwhile, bystanders ran in fear of an explosion as the flames covered the gas tank and engulfed the entire truck.
"You could kind of hear him moan and everything as we were pulling him through the window," Cpl. Ewing said. Driver Stephanie Sweeden, who was certified in CPR, was one of the first to stop and run to Gomez's aid. She helped the deputies carry Gomez to a safe distance from the fire.
"I'm holding his hand, you know, asking questions, trying to make sure I can keep him alert and awake," Sweeden said. "Trying to control blood loss, and the fire was still burning."
For those who might call the deputies heroes for risking their lives, both deputies gave the same humble reply every live saver gives:
"I don't think we did anything that anybody else in the sheriff's office would not have done," Cpl. Ewing said.
"What we did, any other deputy in the situation would've reacted the same way," Lt. Channon said.
Sweeden said she felt compelled to help Gomez when she saw his badly injured head, because she lost her mother when she was 21 to a head injury and didn't want another family to suffer a similar tragedy.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:36 AM EDT2013-05-22 15:36:44 GMT
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