LEAVENWORTH COUNTY, Kan. -- An unlikely rescuer pulled a metro family from their wrecked vehicle after a crash. The Leavenworth County man has heard it all when he tells people his name really is “Joe Angell."
“It`s ‘Angell’ with two 'l`s,'” Joe advises.
You might say last Tuesday afternoon he was put to the test of his life.
“I don`t know that I was even thinking,” he said.
Joe said he was driving eastbound on Interstate 70 near Bonner Springs during a heavy storm when he saw an awful crash.
“He went up on two wheels. I could see the complete bottom of the car,” Joe recalled.
He saw a Chevrolet Trailblazer hydroplane, slide across the busy interstate and at least 50 feet of mud.
“And hit that Earth mover and just underneath it,” he said.
Joe said the out of control SUV slammed head on into a huge, commercial truck parked near a construction site.
“I panicked. I just dropped my cane and I took off,” he said.
When he got closer to the accident scene, he saw Heather and David Neal, their 2-year-old daughter and Heather`s 6 and 10-year-old nieces all trapped in the wrecked SUV.
Despite two knee replacements and back surgery, he sprung into action. He said he did everything he could to rescue the Neal family; trying to smash their Trailblazer`s windows with his gun.
“I couldn`t break the glass so I went into the passenger`s compartment and I was able to reach the electric door lock. I started pulling babies out,” he said.
Quickly, he gathered three crying children out of the family’s crumpled car.
“I was scared for my family. I was scared for our lives,” Heather Neal said.
“Give him thanks from the bottom of my heart,” David said.
Joe even went to the hospital and waited in the emergency room until he knew all of the Neals were okay.
“A guardian angel. I mean one that fell from the sky because he just miraculously showed up,” Heather said.
The family`s real-life angel says don`t call him a hero.
“All I was doing was what I could for those people,” he affirmed.
Heather suffered the worst injuries, including torn ligaments in her left leg. Once she`s back on her feet, she says she plans to visit Joe and give him a big hug for rescuing her and her family.