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Passing motorist rescues trapped driver from burning pickup on I-44
Passing motorist rescues trapped driver from burning pickup on I-44

Joey Rothmund hooks up a pickup for removal from Interstate 44 following a Saturday evening rollover.
HAZELGREEN, Mo. (May 2, 2009) — Fire Chief Eric Price says a Richland driver is lucky to be alive.

About 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Hazelgreen firefighters received a report of a rolled-over pickup truck on fire near mile marker 143 with a person trapped inside. While many vehicle fire calls turn out to be radiator steam or something else other than a fire, the pickup truck blaze was a true fire.

“A passerby came by and got it before we got here, thank God,” Price said.

While Kenny A. Young, 56, escaped with only minor injuries and refused medical treatment at the crash scene as well as from staff at St. John’s Hospital where he was transported following the wreck, he won’t be going anywhere soon. According to Missouri State Highway Patrol reports, Young totaled his pickup and was arrested by state troopers at 5:33 p.m. on charges of driving while intoxicated and careless and imprudent driving. He was transported to the Laclede County Jail and placed on a 24-hour hold, according to the state patrol report.

Young also had no proof of insurance, troopers reported, but he had been wearing his seat belt.

The wreck happened in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 44 just west of the Gasconade River Bridge, and left Young’s blue 1986 Dodge pickup upside down balanced between the guardrail and a steep rock bluff. Price pointed out remnants of the fire on the engine compartment of the pickup.

According to troopers, Young had been eastbound when he ran off the roadway to the right, struck the rock bluff and overturned.

Price’s department received assistance at the scene from the Tri-County Rural Fire Protection District, which diverted a pumper-tanker that had been on its way to a hazardous material emergency at the Pulaski County Courthouse, as well as from the Laclede County Sheriff’s Department.

Emergency personnel briefly shut the interstate down about 6:30 p.m. so Rothmund’s Towing personnel could remove the pickup.

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