Teen gets award for saving woman from burning car
LAKE OZARK - A two car crash left three injured on August 19, but much more damage could have been done.
"If the bystanders wouldn't have helped, the drivers involved would not have survived," said James Doyle, the Lake of the Ozarks Fire Protection District Chief Fire Marshal.
Kallie La France, 16, was one of the bystanders on the scene that day. The Lake of the Ozarks Fire Protection District commended her for her bravery at a Thursday night ceremony.
"I see something in the car. I see movement. Other people are going to the truck first," La France said.
La France said then she wondered if anyone had looked at the other car involved.
"I ran up there myself and saw the woman. She was an older lady. She was struggling to get her seatbelt off," La France said.
La France said the situation didn't feel right, and she felt like she was moved to action.
"Finally, I had no more time to think so I just opened the door. She was probably shocked by everything," La France.
She pulled out the older woman's petite body and laid her down in a safe area. Then, La France said she noticed strange noises coming from the car.
"I start hearing crackling and popping, and while I was pulling her out, I felt heat coming from the car," La France said. "Then I saw flames."
The 16 year old then moved the woman farther away from the crash site, and the car exploded. La France said she doesn't see herself as a hero but just as an innocent bystander.
"I just did what I had to do," La France said.
La France said there were many other people there helping too, so she doesn't want all of the attention to be on her.
"Even the doctors don't get much recognition, and they're the ones out there saving a life," La France said.
La France said she doesn't know the current status of the woman she saved from the car.
"I don't know her name. I asked but she wasn't there [mentally]," La France said. "She was so shocked by the accident."
La France said reality set in the next day.
"It was rough. I felt emotionally impacted by it because that could have been anybody," said La France. "I couldn't just watch her get hit by a car."
La France's mother said she has always liked helping people, and she plans to become a surgeon when she's older.
In fact, at the Ozark Fire Protection District, La France signed up to do a "ride-along" with the fire crew some day soon to learn more about their job.