Sedan Subarea crew members Brad Harter, Bill Snyder, Timothy Baker, Randy Bierle
and Donald Simpson spent Dec. 21 cutting brush on U.S. 166 near Cedar Vale. As the crew members were returning to the office late that afternoon, they saw a semi-truck engulfed in flames. Independence Superintendent Marcus Leck said they went into action, rushed around to the cab of the truck and found the driver also engulfed in flames.
The employees ran to the driver to perform the stop, drop and roll technique to extinguish the fire. The tires started popping from the heat and were about to explode, so they moved him to safety away from the truck to provide other emergency medical care.
“We go to training for things like this,” said Sedan Highway Supervisor Tom Ware. “They acted quickly, and they didn’t hesitate. They jumped right in there and did all they could. I’m pretty proud of them.”
Sedan Subarea employees Art Wade, Dale Sweaney and Nathan Blankinship also responded to assist with traffic control on U.S. 166 and other activities associated with the crash.
“This was one of the worst wrecks we’ve come upon,” Ware said. “I commend everyone for their efforts.”
Leck said the driver later died at the Sedan City Hospital, but “our employees gave him a chance for life that he did not have without them.”
The entire Sedan Subarea crew was honored by Gov. Sam Brownback, Secretary Mike King and KHP Lt. Col. Randy Moon at the Capitol on Jan. 28.
“I’m incredibly proud of our crew and how they responded to this tragedy,” said Secretary Mike King. “They put the well-being of the driver above their own safety and went above and beyond to help.”