A 2005 Richland High School grad was called a hero Thursday for helping rescue a co-worker he’d never met when a car flipped and caught fire in a Louisiana ditch.
Derrik Dean, 29, was on his way to his job as a carpenter at a natural gas project in the Lake Charles area early Thursday when he noticed a car ahead of him trying to pass another car.
The car lost control, went off the road, flip onto its top and burst into flames.
Dean, a former emergency medical technician who grew up in Benton City, said he immediately pulled over, along with another driver.
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“As soon as I saw it happen I knew I had to stop,” Dean said.
The flames were spreading but Dean and Jacinto “Jack” Solis III, of Orange, Texas, pulled the unidentified driver out before it was fully engulfed, said the Carlyss Fire Department’s Facebook post.
“(They) did some quick thinking and pulled the driver out before the vehicle was fully involved, saving the driver. Awesome job guys! You are Heroes!!” said the post.
Dean pulled the man into the light of his truck’s headlights to check his injuries. The man appeared to have a banged up knee but was mostly shook up, he said.
While waiting for emergency crews, the men began talking and realized they all worked at the same job site, where there are about 4,000 workers on a daily basis, said Dean, whose mom, Brenda Dean Wilkerson, still lives in Richland.
“We’re all going to try and get together once (the injured driver) is out of the hospital,” said Dean.