Royce Murrow’s bloodied hands were wrapped in gauze to cover up cuts he sustained Wednesday morning while trying to pull two people from a large truck that tipped over on the side of a Franklin County road.
The Columbia Basin College student was on his way to class when he noticed the Able Tank & Toilet truck on the side of Columbia River Road, he said.
Murrow, 20, who often sees the truck while commuting to school, decided to pull over and get a closer look.
“Something in my gut told me ‘you need to go look and see,’ ” he said. “I guess my gut was right.”
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Inside the truck was Shane Leach, 47, and a woman whose arm was pinned. The woman was recently hired by the company as a driver, and Leach said he was riding with her during training.
Neither law enforcement nor fire officials released the woman’s name. She was flown by helicopter to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland with non-life threatening injuries.
The truck drifted too far onto the side of the road and eventually tipped over, officials said. It landed on its roof on a slope, making it difficult for the pair to get out.
“She just got off to the side too far, and it sucked her on in there,” Leach said.
Murrow, who lives about a mile from the crash scene, called his father for help, then tried to break windows on the truck to free Leach and the woman, he said.
“The guy asked me if I could try to bust a window,” Murrow said. “I tried to bust a window with a rock and it wouldn’t bust, so I just pulled it out.”
Leach was able to get out of the truck and was in good health despite some bumps and bruises, he said.
Chief Mike Harris, with Franklin Fire District 3, called for assistance from the Pasco Fire Department to get the woman out of the truck, he said. The position of the vehicle on the slope made the rescue tricky, and officials had to use cables to stabilize it.
Firefighters used air bags to lift the truck and a tool known as the “Jaws of Life” to cut around the driver’s side door, Harris said.
“It took probably 40 minutes to free her,” the chief said.
The crash was most likely caused by inattention, officials said. The woman has a commercial driver’s license.