TERRELL — TERRELL, Texas — A Tyler man is praising a quick-thinking Kaufman County deputy after he saved him from his burning truck following a crash on I-20 in Terrell on Tuesday.
The crash happened near Wilson Road before 11 a.m.
In body camera footage, you see the deputy running across I-20 toward the truck which is smashed into the back of an 18-wheeler.
According to the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office, the deputy just so happened to be patrolling in the area.
Other drivers were already gathered around the truck trying to help the driver, whose right leg was pinned underneath the dash.
In the video, you can see that the engine is on fire and smoke is filling the cab of the truck.
“Is the dash holding your leg in?” the deputy asks. The driver, 59-year-old Michael Pierce, says, “Yeah!”
Pierce then screams, “Man please help me!”
You can see from the deputy’s body camera that the fire in the engine is growing.
He pushes the steering wheel up and helps wiggle Pierce’s leg out from under the dash. “He’s out!” the deputy yells.
The video then shows bystanders carrying Pierce to safety.
For Pierce’s wife, Marsha, the video is hard to watch.
“I just thank God that he’s alive,” Pierce said. “Mike told me that he started praying, ‘God I don’t want to die like this…I don’t want to be burned alive.’”
Pierce was taken to Parkland Hospital. He suffered third-degree burns to his right leg and broke his tibia and fibula. Surgeons at the hospital had to operate immediately after the crash.
And this is the worst part.
On Sunday, Pierce’s son was flown to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas because he wouldn't stop having seizures.
When Pierce crashed, he was driving to Dallas to stay with his son and Marsha at the hospital.
“He said the 18-wheeler locked up his brakes, and he said that he locked up his and didn’t have enough time to stop,” Marsha said.
“Watching the footage, I was feeling all the trauma and the stress. I knew he was coming up here to see us.”
Pierce now has two loved ones in hospital rooms just blocks apart since Parkland and Children’s are adjacent to each other.
“God gives me the strength to get through this,” she said. “I walk back and forth to their rooms to give them some support.”
The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office identified the deputy as Deputy C. Martin.
WFAA spoke with Michael Pierce over the phone briefly Wednesday night. He said that he wants to personally thank Martin and shake his hand when he recovers.
“He told me that he was his angel,” Marsha said.