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GVSU students honored for saving woman during head-on crash

Posted at 10:40 PM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 22:41:05-04

ALLENDALE, Mich. -- A pair of freshman students at Grand Valley State University were honored Thursday night for their heroic actions back in January.

Trevor Fairfield and Jarret Basset were on their way to Chick-fil-A when they saw a head-on crash happen on Lake Michigan Drive, just a few vehicles in front of them.

"She hit so hard that her car got air, and that's when I saw there was smoke coming from her car," said Fairfield.

Fairfield and Basset ran to the car where 21-year-old Danyell Oosterveld was trapped inside the vehicle as others were running away: "When you see fire in a car, you automatically think 'explosive.'"

"We ran over to the car door, and we had to grab the top of the door and start bending the metal down to a point where the window shattered," said Fairfield. "That's when I reached in and grabbed her underneath the arms and started pulling her out through the window. And then once I got her torso out, my roommate grabbed her legs, and that's when we brought her over to the side."

Police say Oosterveld was on her way to her father's birthday party when she was hit by a 19-year-old driver who was cited for driving under the influence of drugs.

"She's conscious, but she was very confused. She didn't know her car was on fire at the beginning until later when we told her," said Fairfield.

Oosterveld suffered injuries to her legs and is still recovering.

Fairfield actually had surgery on his shoulder just three weeks before that crash and was supposed to avoid lifting more than 25 pounds. He says he never gave a second thought to jumping in to help at that crash scene and would do it again. "I told my mom I was like, 'If it depended on my re-tearing my shoulder to save her life, I would do it,'" Fairfield told FOX 17. "I would do the same thing again."

Basset wasn't able to attend Thursday night's ceremony. However, both students received a plaque of recognition and a gift card to Chick-fil-A.

Fairfield says he and Basset haven't yet been able to meet Oosterveld due to her recovery but have communicated with her on Facebook and look forward one day to seeing her in person.