By Sgt. Kim Kwang-soo, 8th U.S. Army Public AffairsAugust 17, 2009
NEAR DAEJON, Republic of Korea - An 8th U.S. Army sergeant major freed a man from his mangled car July 8 after it flew off the Busan-Seoul Expressway.
Sgt. Maj. Scott Spigelmyer, 8th U.S. Army Retention Unit sergeant major, was traveling north on Highway 1 from Camp Walker to Humphreys Army Garrison.
About 30 miles from Geumgang Service Station, he witnessed the crash.
"I noticed an individual behind me lost control of his vehicle and crashed violently," said Spigelmyer. "I watched the car flip over the guardrail and start tumbling down an embankment, and I was seeing wheels, dirt and pieces of the car flying off while it was rolling off the highway."
Spigelmyer pulled over and rushed to the man in trouble. Gas, oil and other fluids covered the crash site and toxic fumes filled the air.
"I was the first one on the scene. So I jumped down toward the vehicle to try to get anyone out," said Spigelmyer.
There was one individual sitting inside the car, attempting to make a call on his cell phone. Due to the shock of the crash and the toxic fumes in the vehicle, he was unaware that Spigelmyer was there to help him out.
"After shouting at him for three to four times, he finally realized that I was there and I was able to help him get out of the car and away from the vehicle," said Spigelmyer. "During the whole time, I was hoping that the car wouldn't catch fire.
"The driver had to take a knee two or three times after getting out of the car while trying to climb back up to the highway," the sergeant major said. "He must have been wearing his seatbelt because he only had a few cuts on him from the accident itself but he was definitely hurt from the crash as well as all the toxic fumes he inhaled while trapped in the car."
Spigelmyer added, "I was just thankful that I had the chance to help this guy out and hoped that if the same thing happened to me, someone would do the same thing for me."
The driver, Jeon In-su, was driving from his home in Busan to visit friends in Seoul. Jeon, the manager for Lotte Department Store, has a son and a daughter.
"When I gained consciousness, an American Soldier was pulling me out of the car. It was obvious that he could have simply drove past me as most cars on the highway did," said Jeon. "I really thank him and will always consider him to be my life saver."