|MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash., July 10, 2006 — A head-on collision on Washington's State Route 101 between Sequim and Port Angeles July 3 brought out the heroism in 12 strangers who stopped to help.
|"I did what anyone else would have done, and I would do it all over again today. I just knew I needed to help."
Tech. Sgt. Phillip White
One of those heroes was Tech. Sgt. Phillip White, a reservist with the 446th Airlift Wing here.
White was with his family when a Ford Explorer carrying a family of four crossed the centerline of the road and hit a Toyota 4Runner carrying another family of four.
"There was no thinking involved, it was just instantaneous -- kids, burning car, get them out," said White, recalling how he rushed to the Ford Explorer, broke one of the windows with a rock and pulled the two girls from the backseat before it exploded. "It's just something I had to do. There was no thinking involved."
After White handed the girls to a bystander, he returned to help the father who was semi-conscious and trying to bat away the flames when the car exploded.
"I tried to help the father, too, but the flames were too much by then," White said. "I wish I could have helped the man, but I knew I couldn't or we both would have died."
The girls' mother, who was driving the Explorer, was thrown from the vehicle and pulled out of the vicinity of the flames by other witnesses.