MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 24, 2013

Woman pulls driver from crash

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— After seeing a man’s pickup smash into the back of a tractor-trailer rig, Amanda Quinton rushed to help and found an unusual rescue tool.

“He just smacked the semi, and I thought, ‘Oh no. I hope he’s not dead,’” Quinton said about the 5:30 a.m. crash that left a pickup embedded in and partly underneath the rear end of a trailer.

Quinton said she quickly pulled over and ran to the wreck, where she found the tractor-trailer driver trying to get the pickup door open to help the injured man.

“He went back up to the front to find something to help get it open and I saw a milk crate in back of the pickup, so I used it to smash the window out,” said Quinton, who was once a first responder for the Woodall Fire Department.

Eric Vinson, 37, of Tahlequah was the pickup driver Quinton helped crawl out of the pickup and get to safety.

“There was gas everywhere. The truck was throwing sparks, still running and the only thing going through my mind was ‘We’ve got to get him out,’” Quinton said. “And he was walking and talking, but I don’t see how. He’s a lucky, lucky man.”

Vinson was taken to EASTAR Health System by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries, said a Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service spokeswoman.

A hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon she did not have a patient by that name.

Fort Gibson Officer Donny Warlick said Tuesday afternoon the other driver, Steven McKinney, 32, of Porter, was uninjured.

Both men were wearing seat belts, and the pickup’s airbags went off, Warlick said.

The wreck happened about a half mile west of Georgetown Road on U.S. 62.

“The semi (tractor-trailer) had just turned on to U.S. 62 going westbound. The driver of the pickup ran right into the back of him,” Warlick said. “I don’t believe he (Vinson) even hit his brakes.”

Warlick said McKinney estimated he was traveling about 30 mph when the pickup hit the back of his trailer.

“He (Vinson) was very lucky he was wearing his seat belt, because he likely would have gone out his windshield,” Warlick said. “And then we would have been working a fatality.”

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.