Kentucky National Guard Soldiers rescue traffic accident victim from burning vehicle

Staff report

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Cell phone video shows three Kentucky National Guard Soldiers as they pull the driver of a burning SUV to safety following a wreck on I-64 in Franklin Co. on Jan. 12. Sgt. Andrew Mehltretter, Spc. Daniel White and Spc. Kevin Karrer are being hailed by law enforcement for their quick actions during the incident. (Image courtesy WLEX TV)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Three Kentucky National Guard Soldiers are being hailed for taking part the rescue of a motorist along I-64 in Franklin County on Jan. 12.

Sgt. Andrew Mehltretter, Spc. Daniel White and Spc. Kevin Karrer were all on their way home following drill weekend around 5:45 p.m. Sunday when an SUV rolled several times before bursting into flames.

Sgt Mehltretter

Sgt. Andrew Mehltretter is a combat medic and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Image courtesy WKYT TV)

Raymond Burdett of Ontario, Canada, was the only person in the vehicle. The three Soldiers were joined by several civilians and drug Burdett to safety while the car burned. The driver was unconscious when he was pulled out, but gained consciousness by the time medics arrived. He was flown to UK Hospital where he is now listed in stable condition.

Witnesses said Burdett was in pretty bad shape after the accident and may not have survived at all had it not been for the help of the soldiers and good Samaritans.

Sheriff Melton

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton had high praise for the Kentucky Guard Soldiers. (Image courtesy WKYT TV)

Click here to see the cell phone footage of the rescue

Click here to see the WLEX TV story.

Click here to see the WKYT TV story.

Click here to see the WTVQ story.

24-year-old Army vet James Mcarter was one of those who assisted in he rescue.  He said the victim was initially unconscious and bruised so badly he couldn’t open his eyes. Mcarter used his knife to cut the seatbelt and helped pull the driver out while another man extinguished the flames. He said the expertise of the uniformed combat medics made for a swift rescue.

“We had one guy counting out numbers while we were lifting, and the other guys telling us what we were going to do. The directions happened in a matter of seconds. It’s something you feel you just have to do in the moment. You’ve got to get it done,” Mcarter said.

SPC White

Spc. Daniel White is a combat medic with the Kentucky National Guard’s 1163rd Medical Company. (Image courtesy WKYT TV)

Mehltretter and White are combat medics with the 1163rd Medical Company based in Shelbyville and Karrer is a military policeman with the 617th Military Police Company in Richmond.  The medics were traveling east on I-64 while Karrer was traveling west when they happened upon the accident.

This is second nature for me to do this kind of thing,” said Karrer, who is also a volunteer fire fighter in his community. “Once we saw the car was on fire our only concern was getting him out alive.”

“What we did, we were trained to do,” said White.  “I don’t know any Soldier that wouldn’t have done the same thing.”

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton had high praise for the Kentucky Guard Soldiers.

Kevin Karrer2jpg

Spc. Kevin Karrer is an MP with the 617th Military Police Company and a volunteer fire fighter in his community. (Photo courtesy Spc. Kevin Karrer)

“Their heroic actions were just phenomenal,” he told the media.  “They probably saved this guy’s life.  It’s awesome that they not only give to their country, but they give to their community.  It was brave of them to stop and help.”

“I’m humbled by their actions,” he said.

“Being Guardsmen, we are part of our communities every day,” said Karrer.  “We’ve got jobs and often don’t even live near a military installation.  But we’re still Soldiers and can be called up at any time. This was one of those times.”

“That’s the value of the Guardsman,” said Mehltretter, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  “That’s what we do.  You take raise your hand, take that oath, you serve the people of the United States.  Especially when it’s in the community.”

Mehltretter would later be named the 2014 USO National Guardsman of the Year, partially due to his heroic actions.

 

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