- Associated Press - Monday, February 17, 2014

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - A southwest Missouri orthopedic surgeon who was spending a day being introduced to Joplin-area family physicians made a lasting first impression after rushing to the aid of crash victims whose car had just overturned.

Dr. Andrew Collette, who has been working for Freeman Health System in Joplin for about six months, was with a hospital administrator last Tuesday when they came upon the overturned vehicle on Missouri Highway 43, the Joplin Globe reported (https://bit.ly/1f7HNc0 ).

The car’s engine was still running and the vehicle was spewing gasoline. A teenage boy who had escaped the car was trying to pull others from the wreckage, while a young girl was screaming and crying nearby.

Collette ran to the vehicle and sent the 10-year-old girl to wait with Angie Thomure, supervisor of physician operations at Freeman Hospital West, who had been introducing the surgeon to doctors in nearby Seneca.

Collette and the teenager worked frantically to pull the injured driver, a 49-year-old Joplin man, and another teenage boy from the wreck.

“The car was making some weird clicking sound, and there was gas and other liquids coming out,” Collette said. The first thing he did was turn off the vehicle.

The teenager and Collette were able to peel the windshield back and remove the man and another teenager from the car.

“He did place his life on the line when he stepped back there to help those people in that car,” Thomure said of Collette. “That makes him a hero in my book.”

The Missouri State Highway Patrol report said the vehicle ran off the roadway, struck mailboxes and overturned down the steep embankment. The driver suffered moderate injuries, while the teenage boys, ages 16 and 17, and the girl had minor injuries.


Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com



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