Round of applause to 17-year-old Alan Coleman of Kenny’s Towing in Grundy, VA, for come to this little girl’s rescue! Here’s the story from www.tricities.com:
GRUNDY, Va. — Alan Coleman was working under a truck at Kenny’s Towing when he saw her: a toddler standing near the Coke machine, and apparently alone.
Worried about her safety, Coleman, who is 17, approached the little girl to ask where her family was. It was 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and there didn’t seem to be any adults with her. But as Coleman approached, 2-year-old Brenda Leeann Thacker darted across U.S. 460, apparently for the second time.
She was headed toward home on the other side of the highway, but the oncoming traffic was closing fast. And Coleman, seeing the danger, dashed after her.
Before he could reach the toddler she was hit twice by two different trucks – one passed over her completely after knocking her to the pavement. A second rolled over her left leg. When Coleman finally was able to pull the child into his arms, both were hit by another vehicle.
“I was just trying to get to her before a vehicle got to her,” Coleman said later.
Neither suffered life-threatening injuries, but Brenda suffered several broken bones and was hospitalized for a while. She’s now in a cast from the chest down and must return to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville every 10 days until the cast comes off in July, said her parents, Curtis “Bo” Thacker and Jessica Lowe.
Thacker said the UT physicians were astonished that Brenda survived being hit by two vehicles, but they predict she will heal without any lasting damage.
Thacker and Lowe were at their daughter’s side immediately after Coleman pulled her to safety. Thacker said people who saw the incident told him his daughter would have been crushed if Coleman had not pulled her out of the way at the very instant he did.
Brenda had been in her backyard with her mother and two siblings when the phone rang that afternoon. Mom was inside for only a minute, but when she returned Brenda was gone. Thacker was working less than a mile away at the Grundy radio station office of WMJD.
The toddler picked that moment to try to cross the busy roadway alone, a feat her family says she had never before attempted. She rounded the house to cross the few feet of road between her home and the service station.
Not long after, Coleman spotted her at the Coke machine.
“I was worried that she might take off,” he said.
When she did, he said, he followed without thought.
She was just a few feet from Coleman’s outreached hands when the first truck, traveling westbound, hit her. Coleman said he watched helplessly as the big truck hit the tiny child then continue on, straddling the toddler. As he continued to move toward her, another car hit him.
“I didn’t see what hit me,” he said, explaining that he was knocked backwards perhaps a dozen feet toward the building by the impact. It didn’t slow him down.
Coleman bounded back after the child, was lying in roadway nearest Kenny’s Towing. As the determined young man reached the injured girl, he was hit again.
“I think it was the same truck that ran over her,” Coleman said of the second impact for them both.
This time, Brenda’s left leg was run over by both the front and back tires of the truck, he said.
Coleman then was able to grab the child by her sides and pull her to safety. That’s when he was hit for the third time, with Brenda still in his arms, he said.
“The next thing I remember, I was laying on the ground holding her,” Coleman said. The dazed young man called 911 from his cell phone and waited on help to arrive.
“She took her little fingers and grabbed my hand,” Coleman said. “She rolled her head against me and held on till the ambulance got there.”
By then Thacker and Lowe had arrived and they asked their daughter why she had crossed the busy road. She gave her parents a one-word explanation: “pop.”
Thacker said they had taken her across the road to get a drink at Kenny’s service station recently and he believes she just wanted to get a Coke from the newly installed vending machine.
Brenda was transported by Mercy Ambulance Service to Riverview Elementary Middle School, where she was air-lifted to Holston Valley Medical Center. Both the upper and lower portions of the child’s leg were broken by the truck and she suffered a cracked pelvis and a torn muscle in her upper leg.
While on their way to the medical center, Thacker said, they were notified by cell phone that she needed to be transported to the UT Medical Center because Holston did not have the proper equipment to treat her.
Coleman suffered bumps and bruises, but no serious injuries and was not hospitalized.
But, Thacker said, Coleman took the brunt of the impact of that last collision, and that likely saved his child’s life. He and Lowe said they’re both very grateful for what Coleman did, adding that he possesses the bravery and ability to act that makes a man a hero.
An assistance fund has been set up for the family to help pay for the child’s medical expenses. Donations can be made at the Grundy National Bank in the name of Curtis Thacker, at P.O. Box 471, Grundy, Va.