A FIERY CAR CRASH

Bruce Sikes ·Friday, December 16, 2016

 I haven’t shared this story openly before, because I can’t, and don’t want to take any credit for what happened that night. God did it all. I share it now, because as I reflect back on it there’s a lot to be learned from this experience. (More photos below)

December 16, 2013

I was driving home on Interstate 44 in St. Louis on a Monday night after a workout. For some reason, on the way home I kept getting hit with negative thoughts of how I’ve let God and other people down- as if I needed a reminder.

When I was about a mile or so from my home, I saw a car on fire. It had slid off the highway and crashed head first into a solid rock wall face which was about 20-30 feet high. I passed the scene doing about 55 mph and didn’t see anyone else around. The next thing I knew, I found myself slamming on my brakes and pulling over to the shoulder. I threw the car in reverse and floored it backwards down the shoulder about 50 yards to the scene. It's a fairly busy highway, but right at that moment there was no traffic near me when I backed up. I jumped out of my car and ran towards the burning car.

The entire front of the car was on fire and was spreading fast towards the passenger compartment. I looked inside and wasn't sure anyone was in the car because there was a lot of smoke. I could see that the airbag had deployed and there was no one in the driver’s seat, but there was a mass of some type on the front passenger seat. The door was locked so I looked around for a rock to break the window out. It was dark and there was snow in various places. I couldn’t see well, but I reached down and just happen put my hand directly on a brick sized stone. I picked it up and threw it through the driver’s window and immediately saw a man lying down in the front seat. I broke out the rest of the glass with my fists and reached in to try and unlock the door. The door mechanism was smashed. I saw the man open his eyes and I told him I was going to get him out. In the meantime the fire was really raging.

 

 

Somehow I found what was left of the door handle and was able to jerk the door open. I leaned in and grabbed the man under his arms and started to drag him out. He was a big man ( 6’2”, 230lbs) and was limp from his injuries and couldn't help me. I drug him out about 10 feet and stopped for a second to get a better hold. I asked his name. He was hard to hear but said his name was Nick. The flames were out of control now and reaching the passenger compartment. The heat and smoke were getting intense. I knew I had to drag him further away so we wouldn't get caught in an explosion. I dragged him about another 20 feet. I hated to do this because he was injured and bleeding but there was no choice. I was surprised at how hard it was to move him. I was really feeling my torn right bicep injury from a few weeks before. But, I couldn’t stop because we were still way to close to the fire.

 

Just then I heard voices behind me. There were three people approaching, a truck driver, a nurse and a young man. I asked them to help me move him further away. Right then something blew up in the car with a loud bang and they all ran away. I yelled for them to return and we managed to drag him another 20 feet or so. The nurse started to check his vitals. He was going in and out of consciousness. The car's interior was now completely on fire and heading back towards the gas tank. I told them we still needed to move him and us further away from the fire. A police officer arrived right at that moment and with his help we moved him back another 30 feet. The police officer was holding Nick's head and trying to get him to talk. His eyes were closed. He was still going in and out of consciousness. I said, "Open your eyes Nick!" and he immediately opened his eyes. The car was now completely engulfed in flames. The Fire and ambulance vehicles arrived and started working. Nick was moaning in pain as they moved him into the ambulance. He had multiple broken bones in his feet, legs, ribs as well as a head injury. I noticed a lot of blood on my hands so I rinsed with some hand sanitizer I had in my car. While they were loading Nick into the ambulance, I gave my information to a Shrewsbury Police Officer. He told me, "You saved his life."

I got back into my car and headed home. That’s when it all started to hit me, that God had just used me in an awesome way. I don’t remember having to stop and think about how or what to do. God seemed to take control of my mind and body. He guided my every move. The timing, actions and everything else went far too well to be otherwise. My eyes teared up and I just started praising God. When I arrived home I flipped the light on and noticed blood on the switch plate. That’s when I discovered it wasn't his blood but mine. I had two other cuts on my right hand that I didn't know about, not bad cuts but bleeding pretty good. My hands were hurting from being frostbitten so I couldn't tell that they were bleeding. When I finally sat down, I wasn’t hungry or sleepy I had a lot to meditate on. I was just so very humbled by all that happened.

 

The next day I wanted to visit Nick in the hospital but the Police couldn’t release any information so I gave them mine. A couple of days later, I received a call from Nick’s father. It was quite an emotional call. He was from Arkansas and came up to be with his son at the hospital. Both he and his wife went to church with me that Sunday. When I gave him the directions to church, I realized he would pass within feet of where his son crashed five days before.

I was able to visit Nick a week after the accident. He was doing remarkable well. He was reading his medical reports and said he shouldn’t be alive, that the impact of the accident itself should have killed him. He had 4 hours of surgery on his face and more surgery on his feet & legs. Both feet were severely damaged. He had broken ribs and was in a lot of pain. He remembers some of the accident. He lost control on black ice and slide into the wall doing about 60 miles per hour. He thanked me for saving his life. I told him it was God who saved him and that He had a purpose for his life. He said that he didn’t know what that purpose was; I told him the Lord loves him and wants to be in his life. He said he thought he knew God, but it took the accident to open his eyes.

About three weeks later he was released form the hospital and transported to his parent’s house in Arkansas. He has since made a remarkable recovery. I have been able to visit with him and his family a couple of times since the accident and attend their church. As I said, I’ve hesitated to openly share this story, because I can’t, and don’t want to take any credit for what happened that night. God did it all. I share it now, because there are a lot of lessons we can learn from this experience; how fragile is human life; how quickly death can come; how often we just pass people by; how we let fear and doubt stop us from helping; how we question our self worth to be used by God or be saved by Him.

For me it’s served as a reminder to look at the world through God’s eyes and not my own. It’s a daily struggle, moment by moment, but God gives us opportunities to help or be helped every day if we open our eyes to those around us. A lot can change in a moment. We can’t wait. We don’t have all the answers, but when we know the right thing to do, we should do it. God is there in that moment.

Bruce

"From now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we no longer do. He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again." 2 Corinthians 5:15-16