SNOW CAMP, N.C. -- Bobby Willard says he is alive today thanks to two good Samaritans who helped pull him from his work van after he crashed into a tree.
Willard doesn’t know why he went off Greensboro Chapel Hill Road on June 2, but believes he might have passed out from a medical problem.
All he remembers is waking up as his van filled with smoke.
“The van had caught on fire. So I started hollering, 'Get me out of here, I don't want to burn alive,'” Willard remembers.
Roger Whitt drove by seconds later. He noticed the smoke in the wooded area and kept driving. But when he realized no one else behind him was stopping and no emergency workers were on the scene yet, something made him go back.
“All I could think about was getting him out because it was starting to flame up,” Whitt explained.
He said other motorists refused to stop, but he finally got a man to pull over. Turns out, it happened to be Willard's boss.
They didn’t hesitate. “Adrenaline started pumping and next thing I knew I was over there yanking him out.”
Willard remembers, “Roger told me it was going to hurt. I said, ‘I don't care, just get me out.’ So they jerked me out, took me across the street. No sooner than I got across the street, the van blew up.”
The men say they narrowly missed the explosion. Willard was airlifted to the hospital. He broke an arm, a leg and two vertebrae, and several facial bones were shattered.
Now, almost six weeks later, Willard is out of the hospital and recovering from home. He and his friends are helping raise money to make up for lost time out of work.
“I am very grateful to be alive. I know I shouldn't be. If it wasn't for Roger, my boss and the good Lord putting their hands on me, I wouldn't be here,” Willard said.