WASHINGTON PARISH - A Franklinton man is continuing his recovery from a fiery crash earlier this week that claimed the life of a teenager.
It's a recovery many believe wouldn't be possible had it not been for three good Samaritans that pulled him from the flames.
"As soon as I heard the screeching, I stopped. It took about a good second and a half for the tires," recalled Brandon Holubar, "Once it hit, you could hear it, and the explosion was about a second later. You could actually feel it."
With flames from a two-truck crash lighting up Highway 436 in Franklinton late Tuesday night, the inactive Marine Reservist ran toward the scene from his home.
"Immediately saw movement in the black truck, went to it. Opened the passenger side door, opened the back door," he said.
"Just something kicked in to get the guy out, ya know," said Byron Graham.
At the same time, Graham, an area businessman, pulled up to the crash with his wife on the way home from church. Together, with Holubar's neighbor Shane Thomas, the men worked to get 42-year-old Wade Dustin Smith unpinned and away from fire coming from both vehicles.
"While I was in there, the other truck, something exploded on it, because my wife was yelling at me telling me, I didn't even hear her hollering though," recalled Graham, "I'm just so glad we were able to get that guy out, ya know."
So is Smith's family, who by chance, was able to give thanks in person.
"He left the house about 11 o' clock to go to Franklinton to get a hamburger," said Smith's brother Robert Kendrick, "His birthday, at Midnight, he turned 42. So he was being heli-evaced, I guess, to Hammond for his birthday."
While the other driver did not survive, what the men did to save Smith is being called heroic.
"Not really a hero, I just did what I could," said Holubar.
"Well, that's amazing I guess," said Graham.
Despite looking at the situation in hindsight, and seeing the real danger the men placed themselves in that night, they all still say they'd make the same decisions again.
Relatives say Smith has had several surgeries on one of his arms, while doctors work to save one of his legs.
DNA testing identified the other driver as 17-year-old Dustin A. McCain of Franklinton.
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