MUSKEGON, Mich. — On Sunday, a West Michigan man and his family reunited with a wrecker driver who possibly saved his life.
It was a rainy but welcomed reunion between Duane Braden and Rob Douglas who were strangers just a day before.
On Saturday, Braden was in his backyard fixing the gas tank in a 1996 Chevy Trailblazer.
“Decided to change the doggone thing and put the new one,” said Braden. “It didn’t work out that way.”
Braden’s car jack gave out and pinned him underneath the car.
“All of a sudden it just started rolling back and there was nothing you can do,” said Braden. “I was on my back, gasping for air, and I thought to Him ‘Somebody help me, help me.’”
Braden’s daughter and son-in-law were nearby and rushed to call 911.
As dispatchers worked to get first responders to the home, Douglas, a tow truck driver with 1st Class Towing, heard the call come over the scanner. He happened to be a few blocks away from Braden’s Laketon Avenue house.
“I proceeded to go over there to help out,” said Douglas. “When I got there, he was trapped underneath the vehicle, so I was able to back my tow truck back to him and hook his back bumper with my wheel lift to lift it up to get it off of him.”
Braden spent the night in the hospital but was discharged Sunday. The accident left him with a broken collarbone, an ear full of stitches, and cuts on his arms and legs.
“I’m feeling halfway decent now, but the past 24 hours have been a real royal pain,” said Braden.
Douglas believes Braden is lucky to be alive.
“Usually when that happens, it’s not a great outcome,” said Douglas. “For him to be able to be here today, is the best outcome. Obviously, I was at the right place at the right time.”
Braden recognizes that too. He says he’s done fixing up cars. He also wants to use his accident as a reminder to others that they should use blocks when working on cars and be surround by other people.
“If it wasn’t for the people that was here, I wouldn’t be here,” said Braden.