Selfless service: Soldier pulls pregnant woman from burning car
August 24, 2009
By Jeremy Wise
FORT RUCKER, Ala.--A few years ago, Brittany Bragwell's grandmother gave her an angel figurine that had the inscription, "Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly."
Saturday night, her angel happened to be a Soldier who flies.
Warrant Officer 1 Michael Jordan pulled Bragwell, who is eight months pregnant, from a burning vehicle after another automobile struck hers at the intersection of John D. Odom Road and U.S. Highway 231 in Dothan, Ala. Jordan, with B Co. 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, is a UH-60 Black Hawk flight student.
Jordan's commander, Lt. Col. Mikael Ash, commended the Soldier for his selfless service.
"This was an act representative of the quality of Soldiers currently training as officers here at Fort Rucker," Ash said. "His bravery and courage highlight the best in this generation of leaders who have come into the U.S. Army during a time of persistent conflict."
Jordan, driving home to Ozark after eating dinner, was traveling a few cars behind Bragwell's 2003 Nissan Maxima and witnessed the accident. He said a Chevrolet pickup truck collided with Bragwell's vehicle, causing it to flip once and slide on the driver's side. Bragwell's Maxima eventually landed on its roof.
Jordan said the five young men in the truck immediately exited the vehicle as it caught fire. While other drivers continued to pass the wreck, Jordan stopped to ensure everyone was safe.
That was when he heard Bragwell.
"I could smell smoke, and I thought my car was on fire," she said. "I started screaming, 'Get me out! I'm pregnant!'"
Jordan said Army regulations prohibit moving a person involved in an accident unless a fire is burning. After he saw smoke and felt heat, he decided to pull Bragwell from the vehicle.
After he could not get Bragwell's door open, he crawled through a window. Bragwell said because of positional pressure, she could not unfasten her seat belt, so Jordan slid underneath her, pushed her up and unbuckled the safety device. Bragwell said she did not touch the ground as he pulled her out, preventing her from further injury due to broken glass. Jordan suffered a few scrapes while removing Bragwell from the vehicle.
Jordan carried Bragwell to his truck, and placed her down on the pickup bed until medical personnel arrived. He said first-aid skills the Army taught him helped him quickly assess how to move her without causing further injury.
First responders were dispatched to the wrong area, preventing them from reaching the crash scene for about 15 minutes. Shortly after police arrived, the Chevrolet pickup truck exploded. Bragwell avoided further injury because Jordan removed her from the scene.
Bragwell said Jordan continued to be helpful after he pulled her out of the vehicle. She said he prevented her from becoming distressed, which kept her out of labor. He also let Bragwell use his phone to inform her husband, John Mark, and mother, Mechelle Carroll, she was OK.
Bragwell received a few bruises and cuts. After an overnight hospital stay for observation of her and her baby, she was released.
Jordan said the two deployments in Iraq prepared him for the situation. "It was just like over there, except no one was shooting at us," he said.
Jordan added he did not hesitate to help Bragwell. "That's just duty. That's just military. I would give my life every day to help somebody out," he said.
Bragwell said she will keep in touch with Jordan. "I'm very thankful for him. He was definitely my angel that day," she said.