ASHLAND, Ohio (WJW) – A tow truck driver was recognized Thursday for his heroic acts that fire officials say helped save three lives following a horrific crash on I-71 in July.
“A Saturn Outlook with seven occupants inside was struck from behind by a tractor trailer causing them both to leave the roadway,” said Ashland Fire Chief Rick Anderson. “The tractor trailer became lodged on top of the vehicle trapping all seven occupants. The crash claimed the lives of four people but because of Derrick, three people were saved.”
The chief said Derrick Hamilton found a way to get the tow truck in a tight space between trees so that the tractor trailer could be lifted from the vehicle.
“He truly was the one, the pivotal person,” Anderson said. “His work let the guys get in and do their job and do it safely .”
Hamilton was awarded the Ashland Division of Fire’s Civilian Medal of Honor. The chief said this is just the second civilian of medal honor he has given in 10 years.
Hamilton says he is just grateful that he was able to help.
“Something I will just never forget is when they were trying to figure things out, I heard something about we found a pulse and that was go time,” Hamilton said. “I was going to do whatever I had to do to get something done. “
He also thanked his boss, Aaron Aber of Aber’s Towing, for coming to the scene to help.
“We have to take care of the people and obviously there were lives in jeopardy,” Aber said. “We want to help.”
According to Lt. Raymond Durant of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, no charges have been filed in the crash and the case remains under investigation.
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