Joseph W. Hughart rescued Ray M. Williams, Jr., from burning, Haskell, Oklahoma, March 19, 2010. Williams, 33, was the driver of a pickup truck that, at night, left the highway, struck a culvert, and came to rest upright in a ditch. Severely injured in the accident, Williams retained consciousness but was trapped by his legs in the wreckage. Flames broke out at the front of the truck and spread, entering its interior. Driving by, Hughart, 39, deputy sheriff, saw the flames and stopped at the scene. After attempting without success to open the truck’s driver’s door, he struck the window of that door with his flashlight until the window broke. Hughart then pulled on Williams as he started to emerge through the window opening, but Williams remained trapped. Hughart pulled himself up to a position on the driver’s door and, standing on the base of the window, straddled Williams. Although Williams greatly outweighed him, Hughart pulled on him until he became free of the wreckage. The men fell to the ground, where Hughart rolled Williams away from the truck until others arrived to help move him farther away. Flames shortly engulfed the vehicle. Williams required lengthy hospitalization for treatment of his injuries, which included third-degree burns. Hughart also was treated at the hospital, for a laceration to his right arm that required staples. He recovered.
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