Video: Heroic Truckers Save Baby, Woman From Flaming Wreck


Immediately following a wreck that turned a vehicle into a ball of flame, team drivers David Fredericksen and Walter Letterman rushed to the aid of a baby girl and her grandmother who were trapped inside. The whole incident from the crash through the rescue was captured on the dash cam of the truck they were driving in.

An otherwise calm day on the road gets interrupted when, at 0:24, you can see the crash take place. It’s over in a flash and about 30 seconds later, the truck has come to a stop and you can see Fredericksen rushing forward with a fire extinguisher.

“We thought the people were dead,” said Fredericksen, “I was just praying that they were alive.”

Fredericksen doused some of the flames and opened the front passenger side door when he spotted the infant in the back seat. He pulled the infant out while others helped to extract the woman from the driver’s seat.

The driver suffered a broken leg, but was otherwise okay. Fredericksen said the infant appeared dazed, but she too was mostly unhurt.

Even though emergency vehicles arrived on the scene less than 3 minutes after the accident, if Fredericksen and the others at the scene had not been so fast to help, it likely could have been too late for the woman and her granddaughter.

The drivers’ bravery and quick thinking garnered attention when Fredericksen’s son posted the dash cam footage on YouTube. The video and story got national attention when news outlets including the “Good Morning, America” show picked it up. Fredericksen says that he hopes the coverage will shine a positive light on truck drivers.

“We’re often the first responders,” he said. “We get out of the truck with the fire extinguishers and the first-aid kits and try to help people until the police and firemen get there.”

Editor’s Note: The time stamp on the footage is incorrect. The accident occurred on August 11th 2014.


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Source: ttnews, youtube

Image: screencapture from youtube

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29 comments. Add a comment.

  1. Ray says

    Well, I do have a fire extinguisher, but no first aide kit. I guess it’s time to buy one. I tip my hat to these guys. It takes courage to approach a burning car knowing the gas tank might explode at any time. These guys went above and beyond.

      • RIchard M says

        They rarely explode but don’t walk in front of bumpers on those old cars. Some had shocks in them that can toss that bumper at you. Sweep the extinguisher back and forth rapidly starting from the road up to the top and repeat. Glad this fella stepped up to the plate man don’t.

  2. John says

    Finally some positive news that reflects on trucking. Just a side note, if that driver is going to use a camera as a dash cam. The date and time better be correct or else its means nothing as evidence. I was in a truck stop the other day and noticed a case full of GoPro cameras. Its sad that this might become standard issue some day. But documenting your drive might become something we should all consider. Glad this accident had a happy ending, it could have been very bad.

    • Pat says

      YES – there are good sides & bad sides to those video cams & the possibility that they become mandatory is frightening. But for moments like this & certain others – proof is substantial for keeping people out of court! I know of a friend that had a guy jump out at a light go back to him in his truck & smash his headlight and another driver that had a woman do a stupid maneuver in traffic & then tell the cop that the truck driver was the problem & when the officer viewed the video off of the mini memory card that he put into his squad car computer…. The cop told the woman to shut up!!

  3. Michael Hofmann says

    The article should note the brand of dash cam used. There has been many a time I would have liked to capture video of some of the unsafe practices of motorists. Like a speeding 4 wheeler cutting across 2 lanes from the hammer lane to make an exit ramp, or angry aggressive motorists upset that trucks cannot move faster.
    At last a reminder that there are a lot of good souls out there just trying to do the job well.

    • Pat says

      What is sad is that the ‘company’ that owns that truck “was not” mentioned here! It was Oakley Transport out of Lake Wales, FL! My friend drives for them & HE told me that the company was proud of their guys!

      • says

        I looked at the video pretty closely, but I didn’t see where the ‘company’ jumped out of the truck and pulled people from the burning car. The drivers were the ones who acted heroically, don’t try to give the company credit for their bravery.

  4. dhc says

    Seems like the trucker had better training/instincts than the firefighters. Rather than attacking the fire with foam or a hose already connected to the truck, they drive across the debris field, through the smoke (no visibility), through the highly toxic smoke and on down the road. Unless there was another vehicle involved that they were going to assist, seems they might have “overshot the runway” on this. Kudos to the trucker and others who jumped in to help. I always carry two fire extinguishers, even in my personal vehicles, for just such occasions.

    • Jerry says

      Hi, I thought the same thing, but if you watch closely, (it only shows it for a second), there seems to be another vehicle involved, and the firemen went to that one, realizing the 1st car had it’s occupants extracted.
      Kudos to all, included the other motorists who risked their safety.
      Wonder how the fire dept. got there so quickly!

  5. Donald Wilkerson says

    That is great. I just made mention too someone that I would never stop again for another fire after getting a citation from the North Carolina HWY Patrol for having an empty fire extinguisher. It is a shame how DOT and the HWY Patrol have become extremely hateful towards Owner Operators. Just in my area in Southern Alabama, they have systematically put many Owner Ops out of business. Still nice to see someone shine a positive light on truckers. Donald W., StraightAway Express, Owner Operator.

    • Macgyver says

      That was your own fault. I was on I80 in Indiana a few years back, and I saw a car on fire with a Trooper next to it. I stopped the truck, and got my fire-putter-outter to work. It ran out before the fire was out, and another driver stopped to hand me another extinguisher. Between the two, we managed to put out the fire so well that the trooper cancelled the fire truck! She also made mention on the National Database that we had both helped, and gave us an entire week to get new extinguishers. Had no problem at the next inspection, and When I did get another, I bought TWO.

  6. Scott B says

    This guy selflessly put his own life on the line to help another. He exemplifies the true spirit and courage of the American Trucker. God bless him.

  7. sotomayor says

    The reality you jump into action and do the right thing there will always be monday morning quaterbacking do whats right and go on

  8. missjanenc says

    From what I saw on the news, granny was driving the wrong direction on the highway and hit a truck. She is indeed lucky to be alive.

  9. Jeff says

    The people that help should be commended ! The ones that didnt should be ashamed ! I cant decide what category that cop fits into !

  10. will says

    did anyone make note of the van traveling in front of the semi? i cannot fathom how you could drive through the wreckage as the van did and not stop to help.

  11. William says

    I was a volunteer firefighter on Long Island, NY, now a over the road truck driver. May the Lord Jesus bless these brothers 4 there unselfish deeds. Surely th@ could have been any 1 of our family members these brothers had saved. David & Walter if I ever see u brothers out there @ a truck stop or some town meals on me. Non negotiable!!! God bless u brothers. Jesus Christ bless u 2 real good!

  12. Richard A. says

    Thank God there are still some good people left in the world. I hope he receives a formal citation for his act of courage.

  13. David Dunne says

    Fair Play to the Lads who ran to their rescue and possibly saved Lives in the process…cant say the same about the “Coward” who drove around them and continued on as if nothing happened…I hope he/She has many a restless Night… Shame on you…

  14. Joyce Letterman says

    I have been married to Walter Letterman for 20 years this September. He is a wonderful man of God and so is the co-driver, David Fredericksen, who is the true hero in this fiery incident. These are the correct details of exactly what happened on I-10 that fateful day. My husband, Walter (Wally) departed from Oakley in Lake Wales to begin their weekly trek to California. Wally had just finished his 11 hour shift and they changed drivers in Gulfport, MS. Wally had gone back to his bunk to eat and go to bed. He had removed his shoes and just began to eat when David screamed WHOA, WHOA, WHOA… and it had only been 5 minutes into his shift… when suddenly you can see the explosion off to the left if you slow down the video, you can actually see the Lincoln Continental come across the 3 lanes of traffic and then you see the explosion. The woman driving the Lincoln was leaving I-49 and was attempting to merge onto I-10 when instead of actually completing the circular entry onto I-10, she lost control of her vehicle and came across all 3 lanes of traffic missing all of the oncoming traffic and hit the semi-truck’s gas tank, thus the explosion. The explosion was so powerful that it turned her completely around to where the driver side of the car was facing in the opposite direction so it appears to the naked eye via the video that she was headed in the wrong direction but it was actually the explosion that spun her around where she was headed in the wrong direction. It was a miracle that nobody else was involved in the accident besides the semi. ( The semi was on fire and he of course the truck driver was forced to pull over but you could not see the semi in the video due to all the smoke from the burning car, which is exactly why the fire truck went through the debris field. It was to put the fire out from the semi and to assist the truck driver who was the other victim in this crash. )

    Now, once David stopped the truck and saw the car on fire, he remembered that he had a fire extinguisher and he immediately went into action… David and Wally both thought that whoever was in the car had perished. However, since David did have a fire extinguisher he had to try to help in some way. So he did what he could to help. While Wally was putting his shoes back on so that he could help David, he was watching David approach the car and he saw a head moving in the car and so when he got out of the truck he began to scream to David and the others who had joined in the effort, that someone was still alive in the car because he saw a head move.

    Together, against all odds, they were able to rescue a grandmother and her 1 year old granddaughter from a burning car. Thank God for David’s quick response and for Wally and all the others who joined in the rescue. Two people are alive today because of their courage. These days, many times truckers get a bad rap… but this was one time where they prevailed as heroes!

    They are giving Almighty God all the glory because HE is the ONE who put them there at the right time, prompted David, before hand, to purchase all the equipment that he needed to do what only HE gave them the courage to do… PTL! God is in control … always! Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” and reading on God’s Word tell us… in verse 29 For whom he did foreknow, he did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he may be the first born of many brethren. 30 Moreover who he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns ? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution or famine, or nakedness, of peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, no principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.
    Romans 8:28-39 … May God continue to Bless all of our American Truckers!

    • Pat says

      AMEN!! Thank God that this was and still is being seen by many to hopefully ‘restore’ trucking & truckers to a better light in America! Let us once again be known as “Highway Angels,” guardians of the roads!!

      I am glad to see you post this response!! Please keep posting & sharing as GOD allows – I do! My friend works for Oakley & he told me of the great response that the company & others have had to this!! Sad is the fact that “another” company had one of their drivers do a brave task in saving the life of a very pregnant woman & her unborn child from being killed/shot by her boyfriend! He put himself & his truck between them by grabbing her & taking her down the road & did manage to get the State Troupers to meet his truck & put an end to the turmoil.

      Thank you & Jesus for this window of mercy that I pray will help restore truckers & show that we are not to be feared!

  15. says

    Great job guys and happy to see that you saved two lives. But it seems like you wasted precious time before you finally got out of the tractor to assist. You should never assume that someone is dead in a wreck, vehicles these days are designed to protect the passengers from some serious crashes. Those lost seconds could have easily resulted in you not being able to get close enough to get them out. But my hats off to you for finally pulling it off.

  16. says

    My son use to drive for Central Refrigerated out of Utah. He has pulled 3 people out of wrecks in the night, while others passed and left him alone with no help to render aide. He now drives for Maverick Transport, a flatbed driver, and Instructor at one time with Central.
    He also served with 149th Battalion Mountain Warriors in IRAQ.
    He is only 26. And it’s not the first three people he has stopped at crash scenes to render aide either.
    It’s how a single father raised him and two other son’s.
    I’ve spent the Winter in his truck all over the United State’s, and their are countless truckers who risk their lives for others, I’ve seen them, and people never know. In the late nights, some have saved our live’s, warning us of the danger ahead should we continue on in a winter storm, we may have never made it, once we we were sure we wouldn’t. not alone, two trucks did that night.

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