Good Samaritans honored for rescuing driver from fiery semi crash on I-435

OLATHE, Kan. -- An Olathe North High School senior is being recognized for bravely stepping in to help a total stranger. He and two other Good Samaritans helped pull a driver from a burning semi truck on Interstate 435 back in August. Saturday, his actions were honored.

Traffic camera video shows the terrifying moments a semi trucked slammed into a barricade on westbound I-435 at the Antioch split on August 16.

"What first caught my attention was the smoke," said Sean Gianfrancesco.

That huge cloud of thick black smoke could be seen for miles. Witnesses across the highway told FOX4 after the crash
that they had spotted a woman and two men rushing to the driver's aide. The day of the crash, we introduced you to Ronald Ragan, Jr., who dashed across four lanes of traffic to help the driver stuck inside his burning semi.

"I was like, 'Just grab my hand and I'll pull you out.' And he goes, 'I can't.' So he had to kind of climb out. It all just happened so fast," Ragan told FOX4 back in August.

Ragan also said there was a woman and another young man who sprinted down the side of the highway, helping get the driver and his dog to safety. That second young man was Sean Gianfrancesco.

"I just figured it was the right thing to do," said Gianfrancesco.

All three everyday heroes ran past others who kept driving past the crash, and people who stopped to record it on their phones. They quickly realized they jumped into action at exactly the right moment.

"About two or three minutes after there was a secondary explosion of the truck," Gianfrancesco said.

His brave actions were awarded Saturday.

"It is our pleasure as the Delaware Crossing Chapter of the SAR, Sons of American Revolution, to present to you this certificate and medal for heroism in recognition of your outstanding bravery and self sacrifice in the face of imminent danger, exemplifying the high ideals and principles which motivated and sustained our patriot ancestors," said Stuart Conrad, SAR Delaware Crossing Chapter President.

"I'm honored. I didn't expect anything like that from it," said Gianfrancesco.

The 18-year-old says he'd do it all again in a heartbeat. And his heart for service will continue with plans to enlist in the Army after graduation.

"For me, I just hope it means to do what's right even if it puts you in harm's way or anything like that. Just do what needs to be done at the right time," Gianfrancesco said.