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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Teen Boys Save Driver Seconds Before Wreckage Erupts in Flames: 'Absolute Heroism at Its Finest'

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When a family was driving along Route 9 in Nelson, New Hampshire, over the Easter weekend, they were looking forward to seeing family in New Jersey and Maryland. They had no idea they were about to save someone’s life.

In the early hours of the morning of April 15 as mom Melissa Heck drove, she noticed a truck in the oncoming lane that was spewing sparks. She told the Sentinel Source that she also saw what appeared to be flames coming from the undercarriage.

Then the truck swerved, smashing into the rock wall along the road as smoke billowed up from the wreckage.

Melissa’s 19-year-old son, Vincent, saw the accident happen and yelled for her to pull over. He jumped from the car, and it wasn’t long before his 16-year-old brother, Jake, was running toward the wreckage, as well.

“I immediately told my mom to pull over, and before she even stopped the vehicle, I jumped right out and ran over,” Vincent said, according to WMUR-TV.

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As the teens ran toward the smoking truck, Melissa called 911.

Breaking the damaged driver’s side door off the truck, Vincent found the unconscious driver had been thrown against the dashboard. As he carried the man away from the truck, Jake searched through the rest of the truck to see if there were any other passengers.

The brothers performed CPR on the man and tended to his wounds, drawing on the knowledge they’d developed through Red Cross CPR and first-aid training and a CPR class through their local fire department.

They continued to try to talk to the man, monitored his condition and checked the rest of his body for injuries as the car suddenly burst into flames.

“The vehicle literally — not 10 seconds after I pulled him out — went up [in flames],” Vincent said, according to the Sentinel Source.

“My main focus was just making sure he was OK,” Jake added. “I didn’t really have any other thoughts.”

The driver, later identified as 50-year-old Jeffrey Voss, was taken to the Cheshire Medical Center, where he was found to have sustained only non-life-threatening injuries and is recovering.

Authorities said Voss had fallen asleep at the wheel and appeared to have not been wearing a seat belt. They searched for evidence that might explain why his truck appeared to be sparking, but as the truck itself was destroyed, they were unable to find a cause, according to the Sentinel Source.

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What was pretty clear, though, was that if Vincent and Jake hadn’t acted as they had, Voss would be dead.

“By the time I got there, the vehicle was fully engulfed, and if that individual was still in there, that individual would never have survived the incident,” Nelson Fire Chief Joseph Sarcione said, according to WMUR-TV.

Keene fire Captain Chris Staples agreed that Voss would have died, “hands-down,” had the boys not saved his life. He also called the Heck boys’ actions “absolute heroism at its finest,” the Sentinel Source reported.

“The fact that these people stopped and actually agreed to help, clearly putting their lives at risk to do that … that’s pretty profound,” Staples said.

Jake insists that his brother was the hero. Vincent insists that he just did what anyone should do, and their mother is very proud of them both.

“I did what I could do,” Jake said, according to WMUR-TV. “If it wasn’t for my brother getting him out of that car, he would not have survived. I was not fast enough to get to the guy.”

“I just think I was doing what any normal human being should do,” Vincent responded. “I just hope somebody would do the same for me.”

“I was just really proud of my boys for being able to do that,” Melissa said, the Sentinel Source reported. “[T]o work together, and they rose to that challenge.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking