Linemen flip truck, save woman

By BILL POWELL
Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — Three Forest Park High School football linemen used their brawn to assist a pregnant woman trapped in an overturned, burning pickup truck late Saturday morning on Jasper’s south side.

 

Fischer
Kempf
Knust

Ranger senior Anthony Fischer, junior Austin Kempf and sophomore Ethan Knust were just about to walk into Rural King when they heard the squealing of tires at 11:54 a.m.

“We thought maybe somebody was doing a burnout,” Fischer said.

Then, Kempf said, two women in the parking lot screamed there had been a wreck. The trio took off running to assist.

According to the Jasper Police Department, Kyle Rummel, 26, of 1006  N. Jackson St., Huntingburg, had been driving west on State Road 162 when the accident occurred east of Lube Way.

Rummel was pulling a trailer loaded with rock with a 1999 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. He told police that, as he crossed railroad tracks across State Road 162, the loaded trailer started to sway. The trailer eventually overturned and that caused the pickup to also roll onto its passenger side and slide down the roadway, police said.

Fischer, Kempf and Knust ran through a roadside ditch, stomped over a barbed wire fence and got to the wreck site to see Rummel trying to climb out of the driver’s side of the truck.

The youths assisted him, then watched as Rummel reached back in to pull 3-year-old daughter Alexis M. Rummel to safety. What he said next startled the boys.

“He was like, ‘My wife is in there and she’s pregnant. We’ve got to get her out,’” Knust said. “She can’t crawl out the top window.”

Fischer saw that the truck’s engine compartment was one fire as he ran around the vehicle. The three boys, with assistance from an older man in a back brace and a woman in uniform who Fischer thought to be in the military, then flipped the truck back on its wheels, Fischer  said.

“We’re football players and I knew we could do it,” Fischer said.

“I know those guys,” Knust said. “I knew we could do it.”

“We had to flip the truck over,” Kempf said. “It was just a midsize truck.”

“They’re very tough kids,” said Fischer’s mother, Michelle Fischer. “I was impressed they were so quick and responsible.”

As they were righting the truck,  Fischer said, the driver’s wife, Erica S. Rummel, 25, basically slid out through the passenger-side window.

Police said Erica and Alexis Rummel had minor bleeding to their elbow and lower arm areas. They were transported to Memorial Hospital in a personal vehicle, authorities said.

“It could have been much worse if we wouldn’t have got that lady out,” Fischer said.

Meanwhile, a Rural King employee was making her way to the crash site with a fire extinguisher. Fischer ran back to her, grabbed the extinguisher and put out the fire. He said he attends races at Salem Speedway and knows how serious a fire can be in a vehicle’s engine compartment.

“I thought it was pretty cool I got to put out the fire,” he said.

During the commotion, the boys said, Kyle Rummel thanked them for flipping the truck and allowing his wife to exit it, but there was no time for many other words.

“The guy was really worried about his wife,” Fischer said. “I know they’re thankful.”

“It’s just what we should have done,” Knust said. “He (Kyle Rummel) would have probably done the same thing for us.”

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Department,  Indiana State Police and the Jasper Volunteer Fire Department assisted. Firefighters spent 40 minutes clearing rock from the highway.

Police said the Rummels’ truck was totaled.

Contact Bill Powell at bpowell@dcherald.com.

 

 




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