It’s GRATITUESDAY today! Yes, I capitalized it, because I am extra grateful today. Two years ago, three people saved my son’s life. Rarely does a day pass that I don’t think about and feel thankful to them for being willing to help out a stranger. Thank you Michael Harrison, Rustin Crawford and Sarah Crawford for being Angels that day!!
Sarah wrote on her blog about the rescue. So in celebration, today’s post is Sarah Crawford’s words telling her story of saving my son’s life. It’s a great story, with a wonderful ending. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
From the Crawford Chronicles: Saving a life!
“Rustin and I were blessed to be at the right place at the right time to help save an unconscious man from a burning car on Saturday (March 26, 2011) evening at 5:00 pm. Rustin was driving (just got his permit) and we were headed to a lacrosse friends house. As soon as we turned from our street to the main street that runs through our neighborhood (Juniper) we saw a white car parked on the side of the road with a lot of white smoke coming from the hood and pouring over the car.
Another person (Michael Harrison, whose family I know well) had already stopped and had discovered that there was a person in the car who was unconscious. Rustin immediately pulled over and ran to help Michael pull the man out of the burning car. He did have to show me how to dial 911 on his phone really quick first! The call would not go through because all the lines were busy and so I ran to help Rustin and Michael who had the guy out of the car, but he was still laying on the street by the door. He was a very heavy (220 lbs) and floppy man and was extremely hard to move. Rustin said later that he was really glad he’d been in weightlifting class at school. NO KIDDING!!!
Look how much bigger Jeremy (220 lbs) is than Rustin who is 5’10” and 150 lbs. The other rescuer was taller than Rustin but much skinnier and was happy to have Rustin’s muscles there to help!
We moved him to the side of the road behind the car, but didn’t stay there long as we were getting covered with smoke that was increasing in volume rapidly and had turned black as the car started to really catch fire. We hefted poor Jeremy (who was still totally out) and carried him to the other side of the road in the bike lane. We layed him there and rested a bit. His eyes were a little bit open but he couldn’t move or speak and looked really sick. I had no idea what was wrong with him, if he had inhaled enough smoke to pass out or had passed out before the car caught fire or what but I was very concerned and just rubbed his head and told him everything was going to be okay and prayed and prayed and prayed that it would be. After a bit, we decided to move him because the fire department was still not there and the fire was getting really big and hot and I could hear things exploding and popping inside the car and I thought it might blow up.
Fortunately, the car never blew up but it left a lot of ashes and debris behind after they towed it!
When Rustin and Mike and I and a few others moved him further down the road, he was starting to wake up and was actually moving his feet a little for us. As he started becoming more aware, he became anxious and tried to walk away from us, though he couldn’t really walk. There was no way we were going to let this potentially very sick individual wander off before the ambulance go there so we tried to wrestle him to the ground. It didn’t work. As you can see from the picture, he is a very big and VERY strong guy. Randy Harenberg, my husband, Russ- who Rustin had run and gotten, and others, tried to calm him down and keep him around while we waited for the fire trucks to arrive. They finally got there and… No, it wasn’t MY firemen, the Gilbert firetrucks were all out on calls and this was Mesa fire to the rescue.
Unfortunately, they had only heard that there was a car fire but not a victim in the car, so at first they just worked on getting the car fire out until finally a paramedic noticed my dad and I frantically waving at them to come help Jeremy. We told them what was going on and they soon found out how strong Jeremy was. It took several police officers and firemen to finally tackle Jeremy into the bushes and get some handcuffs on him to keep him down. Poor guy!!!! He kept asking for someone to help him and saying “Ow!” I felt so bad and just stayed close to try to offer any comfort I could.
After a while they got him some tranquilizers to sedate him a little and then got him on a stretcher. As he calmed down, he was more responsive and told them his name was Jeremy and that he suffered from seizures. They figured that the medicine on the front seat (that he had just picked up from Target) was his anti-seizure medication.
Rustin and I stayed and gave a statement to the police and gave them my number and asked them to call and let me know how Jeremy was doing and if they ever figure out just what had happened. They said they would try, but might not know themselves.
After Jeremy was safely on his way to the hospital, I took Rustin to his friend’s house and then zoomed home for a quick shower and some clothes (By the way- all of this was happening as I was wearing only a swimsuit and a sweatshirt! Put on clothes before you leave the house! You never know what might happen!!!) then I took off for the dinner and a meeting I was missing.
About 45 minutes after I got there, Russ texted me the most amazing text:
“The kid whose car burned was Kami Tilby’s son!”
I can’t explain the emotion to know that poor Jeremy, who I had been praying over, was the son of one of my most favorite friends in the entire world. She has helped me in so many ways through every step of the last few insane and very difficult months of my life, starting before my sister Liza died, but especially since then. To have been able to help save her son’s life and bless hers forever in a very real way is such an honor. I am so grateful that Rustin and I were there to help him and her and her precious family!
So on Sunday night we got to meet our Jeremy!!!!
It turns out that Jeremy does indeed suffer from seizures and takes medication to control them. He had missed two days of medication and had just refilled his prescription and then visited his parents who live just a few houses from me. As he rounded the corner to Juniper, he felt the aura of a seizure coming on and knew he had to pull over and put the car into park. It took his body about 100 yards to be able to do that and he stopped about 20 yards before the main intersection at Val Vista! Phew!!!
Then he had a seizure and it is believed that he must have accidentally pushed down on the pedal and revved the engine so high that it overheated and caught fire. Sometime after that we arrived on scene.
He doesn’t remember being pulled from the car or being carried around but does vaguely remember the struggle on the ground with the police, and asking for help. He says it is foggy like a dream. Then he “woke up” in the hospital, not really sure why he was there and why he had grass (which was actually straw from one of the bushes) all over him.
He was so sweet when he met Rustin and I, reaching out for big bear hugs and saying “Thank you, Thank you!”
You are so welcome Jeremy!!!
So glad we could feel what it feels like to be an angel and be part of a miracle. That same day, Saturday, was the two month anniversary of Liza’s death and I had cried quite a few tears just a few hours before this happened. It was so nice to have things turn around and get to be part of such a happy ending for such a great person and family.
Maybe Liza was there helping too!
Maybe we were both angels that day?!”
The view from the driver’s seat- nice windsheild. Getting worse…
The back seat! Can you see the toasted head rests from the front seats.
The right side of the car- Really toasted!!! From where we were standing we could see the huge flames shooting up through the windows. They did a lot of damage! Glad it was EMPTY!!!
Jeremy’s backpack that was on the back seat. Toasty! His ipod inside it was unharmed. PHEW!”