‘I’m gonna get you out of here,’ man who pulled semi driver from truck speaks out

A semi rolled into a ravine off Route 6 February 2.
A semi rolled into a ravine off Route 6 February 2.(Brandon Lawson)
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 4:17 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - The driver of the semi that rolled into a ravine off Route 6 was injured, but alive following the actions of one man on the scene

Brandon Lawson didn’t see the accident happen, but he saw the highway sign shaking, and dust blowing up from the ravine as he traveled toward Chillicothe. He stopped and saw another man looking down, panicked. A semi had rolled several feet through trees and debris down into the ditch.

Lawson told the other bystander to call 911, while he climbed down towards the truck cab. He described the car as “mangled,” and “smashed.” As he approached the truck cab, diesel fuel was flowing “like a river,” and pooling around the semi.

The driver was awake, but not fully responsive.

“I said ‘I’m gonna get you out of here’ and just grabbed a hold of him and started breaking tree limbs out, and had to rip the cab apart a little bit, the cab was flat, smashed,” Lawson said. “I had to drag him through the trees, through the oil.”

Once they were at the top of the ravine, the driver was having trouble breathing. He told Lawson his inhaler was inside the cab. Lawson climbed down again to retrieve the inhaler and some other personal items. From there, first responders took over.

The driver sustained some injuries, but nothing life-threatening. The truck cab caught fire at least twice while crews tried to clean up the scene. There’s been no official cause for the crash.

In a Facebook message to Lawson, the driver thanked him for his quick thinking.

“My wife and I owe you a great debt of gratitude,” the message reads. “You are the hero of the day!!”