A Preston firefighter has a long road to recovery before he can fight fires again, but he says he knows he dodged a bullet.
Capt. Jared Bennett and another firefighter were headed to a call earlier this month when he had to take evasive action to avoid being hit by a car. The department’s only engine rolled into a ditch, according to KY3.
“I keep telling everybody I’m probably the luckiest person in the world. In that situation, I mean, that’s a one-in-a-million situation to come away from that.”
He suffered a collapsed lung and broke all but two ribs. Doctors had to put his chest back together.
Bennett said when a car crossed the yellow line beside them, he drove the engine onto the shoulder. Getting it back on the road proved fruitless. “The truck didn’t even want to move that direction, honestly, Then, once it did, it came out with a vengeance.”
He was ejected through the windshield as the rig rolled. He and Firefighter John Sanchez were left lying in the road.
Bennett’s father, Preston Fire Chief Brian Bennett, was driving behind them. He was warned on the radio by a firefighter who said there was a car in his lane.
Nothing could prepare him for what he encountered seconds later when he rounded a curve.
“You know, there’s a lot of things that we can get by with, had they been texting or lighting a cigarette, on the phone, whatever, if they were to just stop. Instead, they left my son, a firefighter, laying in the middle of the highway, basically, as roadkill,” the chief told a reporter shortly after the wreck.
The chief urged drivers to slow down and pay attention.
Although his passion for firefighting is on hold for now, the captain said he forgives the people who left him and Sanchez lying in the roadway. He said he hoped they were going to get help.
“I can’t hold that against anybody because not everybody has that type of skill set. I mean, not everybody has done that before.”
He’s overwhelmed by the encouragement from and is anxious to return to the firehouse.
“I’m just walking around and bopping and doing my own thing. I honestly feel like it’s all the support. I just feel so uplifted, and I feel I feel good.”