It played out like a Hollywood movie, with a driver dangling upside-down, trapped and desperate while rushing water filled his vehicle.
At the last possible moment, a hero swooped in to save the day.
On Wednesday, firefighter and flight medic Barry Wright was honored by the Licking County Red Cross for his heroic actions on July 11, 2011.
“So, the water, it was like a creek, and it was coming at him, and it would come up, go around the truck, and come up and go all the way around the front of the truck and fill up the cab,” said Wright on Wednesday.
The man behind the wheel of the cement truck, Jamey Hall, said he was using a dismantled ink pen as an underwater breathing tube when Wright used his strength to rip open the driver’s side door.
For the next hour and a half, Wright held the driver’s head out of the water while crews worked to set him free.
Wright received the Fire/Rescue Hero award on Wednesday.
For the first time since the crash, Wright and Hall were reunited.
Hall held back tears as he embraced the man who came to his rescue with moments to spare.
“It stayed in there long enough that I stopped trying to reach out for something to pull myself up, and I thought, ‘Well, this is it,’” Hall said.
A team of 30 to 40 firefighters eventually cut Hall free. A medical helicopter lifted him to a hospital, where doctors saved his leg.
On Wednesday, Hall walked with a cane as part of his long path to recovery.
“You’re alive, you’re alive, that’s the main thing,” Wright said to Hall.
Both men said they knew the story could have ended tragically. Hall said he was happy he lived to say “Thank You.”
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