TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) — It is one of those “what would you do” moments. A Food City truck driver happened to witness a horrible accident while driving his normal route on Interstate 40 near Knoxville last week.
But this driver, in a split second, knew exactly what to do. He might have just saved a life in doing so. After pulling a person from a car fire, leaders with Food City took the time to give him a proper thank you Thursday afternoon with a small ceremony.
“A Jeep Cherokee, I saw it start swerving. It T-boned the jersey wall, did a 180, flipped on its hood and busted into flames,” Todd Hamblin recalled of the accident.
“It made me really proud to see Todd’s reaction. You always kind of wonder what you would do in that circumstance,” said Greg Sparks, chief operations officer for Food City.
Dashcam video shows exactly what Todd did the moment he saw the car flip on the interstate.
“I knew it was burning. So I threw the truck in park, jumped out and ran over,” Hamblin said.
As seen in the video, Hamblin threw on his emergency brake and ran full force to the burning vehicle. He went straight for the passenger side where an older gentleman was trapped, upside down.
“It took me a little bit to get his legs turned around and him pulled up and the seatbelt untangled,” Hamblin said. “The only thing I kept thinking was, I didn’t want that car to fully engulf before I got him out.”
Hamblin was able to pull the driver to safety – another good Samaritan helped the female passenger escape.
He says he left the scene when he knew everyone was safe, not sticking around for even a thank you. But to Todd’s surprise today – it caught up to him.
He was honored for his actions in front of Food City’s top leaders who presented him with a certificate and a gift card.
“I’d say this is going above and beyond for a driver to stop and pull over and potentially save lives, pulling somebody out of a burning car,” Sparks said.
Hamblin said he never wanted any recognition but is grateful for the honor.
“I don’t look at myself as a hero. I just did something I would expect anybody else would do for me or my family,” he said.