MULHALL, Okla. -- A Colorado pastor says he’s lucky to be alive after a rescue attempt on an Oklahoma interstate ended in an explosion.
Pastor Jason Newby, was driving on I-35 when he witnessed a tanker truck strike the back of a disabled semi.
“The tank immediately caught fire,” Newby said. “The cab was shredded and it was on fire.”
Minutes later, Newby says another driver approached him, saying the driver of the tanker was trapped in the cab and needed help.
“The wind was blowing strong enough that it was keeping the flames off of him, but the whole semi trailer tank was on fire,” Newby said. “He was just sitting in there and we were communicating with him trying to figure out if he could get out on his own.”
Jason and the other driver decided to attempt a rescue but never got the chance.
“About the time we decided it was go time for that, the tank exploded and blew us back into the hillside,” Newby said.
“What he did didn’t surprise me at all,” said Craig Kirkpatrick, senior pastor of Evangelical Free Church of Eaton, where Newby serves as youth pastor.
Kirkpatrick says Newby leads by example both as a youth pastor and as a pit pastor for Team Faith, a Christian motocross team that travels the country competing in events. Newby was driving motocross equipment back to Colorado when he answered the call to action.
“We talk about the responsibility of manhood to run towards the danger and to try to protect others and Jason has always had that kind of a spirit in him,” Kirkpatrick said.
Newby says he wishes he could have saved the truck driver. The explosion killed the driver instantly and sent Jason flying 30-40 feet.
“A piece of pipe or debris took out my right leg basically,” Newby said. “It left about a tennis ball sized hole in my leg and took out a chunk of my femur.”
Despite the pain and the rod now attached to his femur, Jason is smiling and thankful for his own heroes. That other good samaritan just happened to be a combat medic, who stopped the bleeding with a tourniquet and organized others on scene to move him to safety.
“They saved my life,” Newby said. “And they stayed with me until the helicopter arrived.”
Just two more reasons why Jason is also thanking God.
“I really feel like (it was) a miracle… miracles all around,” he said. “I’m blessed. I’m happy to be alive.”
Newby says he’s also thankful for the incredible generosity of strangers. A GoFundMe page in his name has already reached it’s goal, exceeding $10,000 to help him cover medical expenses.