Julian fire chief still recovering after 25-foot fall

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- The Chief of the Julian volunteer Fire Department is  recovering at home months after surviving a 25-foot fall off an overpass, and he still has several more months to go.

Chief Jeff Folwell was off-duty Dec. 16 when he was driving along Interstate 85. He saw a driver slide off the road and crash, and stopped to help the driver.

But another vehicle lost control and was heading right toward him, so he jumped over a guard rail.

"That was my only choice," Folwell said.

He thought he would fall only five feet, but he fell nearly three stories instead.

"I remember going over. There was a peace that came over me. It didn't last long because it wasn't long before I hit the ground," Folwell said. "I hit the rock, and it was pain. Instant pain."

Folwell's left elbow and pelvis took the most damage. It took a lot of metal to get him back together again.

"I don't know what this is. Looks like a chainsaw blade," said Cindy Folwell, Jeff's wife, while looking over the X-rays.

Jeff can't walk yet, but he and Cindy said the whole community has rallied behind them.

"It's amazing how the people have come together for us," Cindy said.

"She's been there. She didn't leave my side. I've got to get better so I can take care of her," Jeff said.

Jeff said he can't wait to get back on the fire truck. He said it will probably be 3-6 months before he can walk again, and it will be two more months before he's back to work. So he's looking to return to work by November or December.

As for if he'd try to help another motorist like he did that dark and rainy December night?

"Will I do it again--probably. That's just who I am."

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