Tuesday, May 17, 2016

After 4 Tours in Iraq, Veteran Saves Lives in Florida

Local veteran hailed a hero after fiery pileup in south Lee County
NBC 2 News
By Graham Hunter, Reporter
May 17, 2016

FORT MYERS
A local veteran says his military training kicked in during a fiery seven-vehicle pileup Monday in south Lee County.

Troopers said northbound traffic was slowing down on Summerlin Road near the intersection of Winkler Road when a semi-truck rear-ended a town car in front of it -- causing it to catch on fire.


Patric Hewitt, who served four tours in Iraq, watched the pileup unfold and quickly ran to the burning vehicle and began to pull people out.

"Me and another gentleman got the car window busted and dragged the first person out," said Hewitt.

The driver, James Cwanek, 70, of Fort Myers, and the front-passenger, Austin Perkins, 34, of Minnesota, were transported to Tampa Regional Hospital in critical condition.

Krisitn R. Lee, 39, of Iowa, who was riding in the back seat died at the scene.

A total of seven vehicles were involved in the chain-reaction crash.

Witnesses said what Hewitt did was nothing short of heroic.

"I'm not a hero. I'm just trained to save lives," he said. "As soon as the tractor trailer hit the silver car, it burst into flames, at that point, I pulled off the road and ran to the car."

Hewitt said his military training kicked in during the situation.

"A life is a life, and my job is to help people, so my life comes after everybody else's."
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NBC-2.com WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida