CHEROKEE Co., S.C. (WSPA) – An Army Ranger was at the right place at the right time to help a driver in need Friday after his tractor trailer went off road on Interstate 85.
“I threw on my shoes really quick jumped out and I wanted to run over there and make sure the driver was okay,” Alexei Newell said.
Newell has been an Army Ranger since 2014 and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after his last deployment.
Newell was driving from North Carolina to Georgia after seeing a doctor who is treating him. Newell stopped to help because he knew his military training could be the difference between life and death for the driver.
The S.C. Highway Patrol says the driver is Winston Wilson of Loganville, Georgia. Wilson was headed north when the truck malfunctioned and he lost control. The truck went through a median, crossed into the southbound lane and hit an embankment. Newell says he knew he had to get to the driver as fast as possible.
“The driver side door was pinned by the trailer because of the way it crashed and I went over to the passenger side and checked the door handles and couldn’t get in, tried to kick the window out and someone tossed me up a stick and I smashed it out like that,” Newell said.
Newell says it was a team effort with one person using their fire extinguisher to put out the fire that had already started in the engine. Newell was able to get to the driver to keep him calm and alert.
“I found his phone and gave it to him so he could call his wife and then it turned into me keeping his wife calm so I told her, my name is Lex I’m in the truck with your husband right now and everything is gonna be fine,” Newell said.
Newell knows how it feels to be in a position where you can’t take life for granted, but he remains humble through his heroic actions and wishes the driver of the tractor trailer a speedy recovery.
There’s no word on the condition of the driver. Newell says he’s cancer free and will be having routine check ups with his doctor to make sure the cancer never returns.