INDOT worker pulls couple out of overturned pickup truck after crash
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.—An INDOT Northwest employee driving on the U.S. 20 bypass near State Road 23 pulled a couple from an overturned pickup truck on the morning of March 6 after an instinctive feeling told him to pull over.
Mishawaka Unit Foreman Ermilo Ducret was out checking on his snow crews and monitoring the road’s surface due to the light snow falling on March 6.
Around 5 a.m., the South Bend Police Department asked Ducret to check the area of U.S. 20 between S.R. 23 and U.S. 31 for possible ice on the roads.
Ducret noticed something in a ditch when out checking for ice. He used the front light bar and side light of his state-issued vehicle to take a closer look.
“I don’t know something in my mind something just told me to stop,” Ducret said.
In the ditch, Ducret found a pickup truck flipped upside down.
Ducret said that a man was shining his cell phone at him from the driver’s side.
Because of the damage to the pickup truck, Ducret could not get the driver’s door open.
The man in the pickup truck told Ducret he was okay, at which point Ducret went to call 911 and emergency personnel from his own vehicle.
After calling 911, Ducret was able to pull the door open while the man in the pickup truck pushed on the door from the inside. Ducret then pulled the man from the pickup truck.
“It was kind of a shock when I got him out and he was like ‘my wife my wife,’ that’s when I looked down there and saw that she was laying there and was pretty bloody,” Ducret said.
Ducret got into the truck and freed the woman, pulling her from the pickup truck.
“Instincts kind of kicked in at that point just to get her out and make sure she was okay and give her something to stop the bleeding and let EMS know that someone else was in the vehicle,” Ducret said.
Ducret took towels from his own vehicle and began cleaning the woman’s face and head.
After paramedics arrived, the couple was taken to a local hospital.
INDOT Northwest Safety Director Jim Rotzien called Ducret’s actions “true life-saving efforts,” and commended his quick thinking.
Ducret doesn’t know the condition of the couple, but believes they ended up alright, as he said they were talking and walking when EMS arrived.
Check out the video below for a few safety tips that Ducret has for drivers, even as the weather gets warmer.