Post Christmas Perspective

Editor’s Note: What you will read below is not about sports. Nor is it about the holiday season. Nor is it uplifting. If you read on, do so knowing that you will probably feel quite sobered at the end of it. As for me, I think it’s important to publish, even if the timing may be a bit of a downer. Reed, our prayers are with you for you own wellbeing, and I’m sure the family of the victim are thankful for your actions, especially during this holiday season.

To our POV Family, A friend suggested I share something with you all that I was involved with on 12/22/20. I asked Mike if it was OK to do so and he said he wanted to.  First – let me make a couple things very clear.  What you will read below is only factual. It in no way, shape or form captures the  absolute horror of the situation. This wasn’t like in the movies or like you might see on TV – it was brutal, frightening, and the smell of gas, smoke and flames and the sight of flesh burning is something I won’t ever forget. You would think that one could look at what happened with the positive outcome and feel proud in some way. I do not one bit. That isn’t being humble – I just wish with all my heart it never happened.

I write this because I want everyone who reads it to understand the possible severity of decisions you must make and to be prepared to experience something unbelievable and tragic if you are in a position to help. Perhaps more importantly, please know that I beg you to take appropriate safety measures for you and your loved ones so something like this will never happen to you.  I won’t be able to forget certain things no matter how hard I try and, even though I found out last night the victim has lived, I feel no sense of happiness or joy; quite the opposite in fact, but I’ll work on that as I must.  I have been around the block a few times both professionally and personally, but man, this has really thrown me a hard punch.

Witness Statement of Reed H. Kohberger

Single car accident with injury; Oakland Mills Road between Kilimanjaro Rd and Farewell Rd.

December 22, 2020 at approximately 2:25 pm

On Dec 22, 2020 at approx. 2:25 I was on the scene of an accident where a car had crashed head-on into a tree at at least the posted speed limit with no apparent braking. Immediately after the car hit there were flames underneath the front engine compartment. I stopped my vehicle and ran across the street but all the doors were locked and the windows closed. Another person (Ron? I believe) showed up and then brought a heavy shovel from his car. I believe he then used the shovel on the rear passenger side window, broke it and thick black smoke came rolling out. He then called 911.

I took the shovel and went to the driver’s side but that side of the car was fully engulfed in flames and heavy smoke. I then beat in and opened the rear passenger window to try to clear smoke and leaned in to see a large woman screaming in the driver’s seat with flames in the front part of the car interior. By then the car was almost fully engulfed and she was trying to get to the passenger seat to avoid the heavy flames but was stuck and panicking.

I then took the shovel and broke through the passenger rear window and then the passenger front window and cleared the safety glass (which didn’t break down much) with the shovel and my hands and forearms. The driver was screaming up to a point then she became silent as the front seats were engulfed.

A man named Rico showed up and we grabbed the lady by her feet and pulled her through the window. By this time she was totally incoherent and we saw she was burned in places.

We put her on the ground and all three of us started dragging her away from the burning car and we could see she was pretty cut up also. By this time she was unconscious.

The first smaller explosion happened when we were about 10 feet away (underneath hood) and a second bigger one (underneath mid-car) blew when we had her just outside the danger area. I ran back to see if anyone else was in the car because the driver couldn’t communicate with us but there was no one in the vehicle I could see. I quickly reached into the back seat but felt nothing.

After she was given first aid by First Responders she was loaded into an ambulance and driven away.  We three men gave our personal info to the female police officer and I was seen by a paramedic for cuts and burns on my hands and wrists. I declined to go to the Emergency Room. After that I left for home.

The above statement of my own actions is as full and as truthful as I can recall. My contact info is below.

Reed H. Kohberger

Editor’s Note: Here is a picture of the vehicle

38 thoughts on “Post Christmas Perspective

  1. Way to go, Reed! I hope the lady recovers completely. You and the other gentleman clearly saved her life. You are right in saying that these situations will stay with you for the rest of your life. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reed,

    It is no surprise that your response to this horrific situation would be so automatic. Your career of service in the military would require that.

    When I was probably around 10 years old we lived across the street from a parkway with a very dangerous turn. One night a huge crash occurred and my father ran out of the house..

    Hours later he came back with his arms wrapped gauze from the burns he received pulling the driver from the car.

    He never thought himself heroic. Three years during WW II compelled him to act with the selflessness you displayed. I never heard him speak the details of that experience.

    Thank you again for your service.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Well done Reed. As Gordon wrote, you and those other men are indeed heroes. That woman was lucky to have you and those other men come to her aid and save her. The world needs more individuals such as yourself. God Bless you for your actions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Funny thing, I expected your actions (we have never met) just from reading this site over the years. Well done is write. Hope the lady involved in the accident has a full and happy life.

    Was the SUV a Kia? Just courteous about the make.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reed – you continue to inspire. The way you live your life sets an excellent example in many ways.

    I salute you, Commander!

    Hoping you, the other gentlemen rescuers, and the woman, heal well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. well Reed, since this is Pitt athletic blog … this will put in you the category of Pitt Voluntary First Responder heroes, along with Jamie Dixon who also assisted in rescuing someone from a wrecked car in the North Hills about 10 years as well as former Pitt assistant Reggie Warford who rescued two elderly people from a house fire in Lexington KY back in 1983. I believe Roy Chipman was also involved.

    But your deed involved both a wreck and a fire, so a double salute to you, Sir,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks all. I hope Mike and I didn’t spoil any holiday cheer…

      One last thing – My wife had given me a ‘car hammer’ (to break window glass with, has pointy hammer end, LED lights and a blade to cut seatbelts) and took about five seconds to look for it before I ran across the street and couldn’t find it. Luckily the other guy had a big shovel in his car and I used that.

      When I got home I looked again and found it way under the rear seats. Now it sits right in the driver’s door storage and will at all times. Lesson learned there. I went out and bought three more for all our families cars along with car fire extinguishers.

      Please get these for yourselves…

      Liked by 3 people

  7. God bless you Reed. Prayers for the woman in the accident. Not a bummer of a story at all. Wonderful to hear about human beings springing into action to help another person in a desperate situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reed, I know you don’t care for accolades, but plain and simple, the world needs more people like you. God bless you and the men that helped you. Have a safe and happy 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reed, we’ve never met, but by all accounts you are a hero in every way. And I don’t think it started with this latest incident. You have a history of service to God and country, and your public service and ongoing efforts to help veterans already speaks volumes as to the type of person you are. I would like to join the other POVers in congratulating you on a job well done and a life well lived. We all salute you and wish there were more like you in this world.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Reed – Please see a specialist after this. My wife has a relative who went thru a similar experience with more tragic results. Fire and everything. He’s never fully recovered and still has PTSD from the experience. Disagreements aside, your sense of humanity has always been your best attribute. I know there was a victim involved in the accident but I hope you realize that you’ve also experienced some trauma and at least talk to a therapist for preventative measures. The person that I know’s life has been detrimentally impacted despite the heroics.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Reed, I spent a brief time as a young man in a job that unfortunately exposed me to seeing many gruesome sights. At the time, besides the vivid memory of sights and smells, it really didn’t bother me. 30 years later, it is now something that pops into my thoughts at the weirdest moments both night and day. Glad you shared.

        Like

    1. My dad was driving me over to a Steeler game down Streets Run road, coming at us a car speeding veered off and hit a tree. My dad was going to keep going but I went over to the car to see if I could help. All 4 passengers were dead. Probably broken necks. We stopped at a nearby house and called the police. I still have dreams today about it.

      Like

  11. Reed, thank you so much for what you have done for many others over the years. This story only highlights just one significant event of the many others that may not have been as significant but never the less brought great comfort others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had to be saved from eating a large order of fries once at the O. I was a freshman and didn’t know any better. I opted for the small instead.

      Hero’s come in all sizes

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I am a person who believes in coincidences. People show up at a time and place for a reason. Your heroic efforts to save this woman’s life will have untold benefits to all who were involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hats 🎩 off to you Commander and the others that assisted you. I was involved in a similar incident many years ago. Less traumatic though as no fire. Car wreck with victim. Instinctively relied on that Boy Scout First Aid training until the EMTs showed up. Unfortunately victim was DOA at hospital.

    Like

  14. Reed, you and the others that helped save a life are the type of news we all need to hear about. It is a powerful reminder of our shared humanity…I purchased one of those emergency hammers for my wife and I several years ago. Now, I am going to go get one for our daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

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