Right place at the right time: Truck driver pulls teen out of fiery crash, saving his life

Updated: Jun. 28, 2019 at 7:35 PM CDT
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EAST FELICIANA PARISH, La. (WAFB) - It was around 7 a.m. on June 27 on Highway 10 in East Feliciana Parish when Reonardo Frost, 17, was headed to work. While driving, he swerved to miss an animal on the roadway. The next second, his life flashed before him.

“I hit the trees and was in the woods,” said Reonardo.

With his car stuck up a tree, a fire started while he was trapped inside.

(Clinton Fire Department)

“I was just yelling because people kept passing me up not helping and then I started crying saying, ‘Help me, help me,’” said Reonardo.

Dwight Hawkins, an 18-wheeler driver from Marrero, happened to be on Highway 10 and saw a fire in the woods.

“The guy screamed. I said, ‘Where’s he at?’ I said, ‘Is he out the car?’ He said, ‘He’s up in the woods in the car,’" said Hawkins. “It [the car] was already in flames, so I managed to get him out and get him away from it. Maybe 20, 30 seconds later, it ignited, so it was right on time.”

After saving his life, Hawkins had to leave to get back to work. That’s when East Feliciana Sheriff’s Office Deputy Willie Brooks entered the picture. Frost’s leg was badly broken. Deputy Brooks remained by his side, talking to him through it all.

“Sir, look at me. Don’t look down, just look at me. You’re going to live. He just kept asking me, ‘Am I going to be OK?’” said Deputy Brooks.

The teen was airlifted to a Baton Rouge hospital. His mother, Valerie Frost, had already been called.

“'Your son has just been in a car accident,' and my heart dropped,” said Valerie.

That same day, the teen had surgery for his broken leg. As he spoke to WAFB, he held tight to his mother’s comforting hand.

“He’s supposed to be here because the Lord got him here, but in actuality, he’s not supposed to be here, so to answer the question what it means to hold his hand, it means everything in the world because I would rather be holding his hand with a broken leg than not holding his hand at all or in a casket,” said Valerie.

In the chaos of things, Frost did not catch the driver or deputy’s names, but both mother and son feel indebted to them and desperately tried to track them down.

“I want to sit down with him, talk to him, more because in my opinion, he was the coolest cop I ever met. Like for him to help me to get through that situation, I salute him,” said Reonardo.

“A truck driver did save him. I am in the process of trying to get his information. If you are out there, reach out to somebody. I just want to tell you, ‘thank you.’ I want to give you a hug,” said Valerie.

To their surprise, WAFB had both men waiting right outside Reonardo’s hospital room. Valerie did not recognize them at first. As soon as she did, she broke down with gratitude.

“Thank you guys so much. Thank you so much. My baby is here because of y’all and I thank y’all so much,” Valerie said.

Hawkins says he usually doesn’t take Highway 10, but happened to be on that route that day for a reason.

"God was in the plan," said Hawkins.

Proof of that is what kept Reonardo fighting to get out of his burning car despite the pain from his broken leg.

“I had another voice in my head that was saying I wouldn’t have made it this far if God wanted it to be over, I would have just died,” he said.

“[I had] chills to know that the Lord spoke to him to give him that extra push to know it wasn’t his time,” said Valerie.

The mother and son believe divine intervention put two heroes in the right place at the right time.

“I thought that I wasn’t going to make it because I didn’t have my mom. Usually, my mom walks me through everything and then I had you,” Reonardo told Deputy Brooks.

Now, given a second chance at life, it was only appropriate for them to end with a prayer.


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