PROVO — A couple injured in a rollover Wednesday had a chance to thank one of the strangers who helped save their lives.
George and Ragena Simper were driving along Highway 6 to Goblin Valley for a camping trip Wednesday afternoon when their vehicle rolled. Three men — a former Naval reservist, a surgical tech named Eric Taylor,* and a truck driver — are credited with saving the couple's lives.
"Somebody handed me a knife and I just cut both of her seat belts out and we yanked her out the front window," said Jack Pinckney, the former Naval reservist.
He said he could smell smoke and the men knew they had to hurry.
"When the car was on fire, I knew we had probably less than a minute to get them out," Pinckney said.
The truck driver put the flames out with a fire extinguisher on scene, while the Simpers received medical attention.
The Simpers were taken to the hospital before realizing they hadn't asked the men's names. They had wanted to thank the men who helped them.
Saturday, they were able to thank Pinckney for saving their lives. He visited the Simpers at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, and told them his experience.
"It's so great to talk to somebody and tell them thank you," Regena Simper said.
Pinckney and his wife were driving home from Moab when they came across the crash scene on Highway 6 at Soldier Summit. Initially, Pinckney saw the couple's two dogs, which were running across the highway. When he went to help them, he realized he was dealing with something much more serious.
"When I rolled up, your hand was out the window, bracing yourself," Pinckney told George Simper. "It wasn't moving and there was blood everywhere."
Doctors told the couple the initial responders probably saved their lives.
"I don't know that thank you covers it, but without him, according to our doctors, we wouldn't have been alive," Ragena Simper said. "I just really appreciate the opportunity to have more time with my grandchildren, my own children, my husband. I'm just grateful."
Pinckney said he isn't a hero; he was just being a good neighbor.
"I was just grateful they're still alive," Pinckney said.
*Since the initial report, more accurate details have clarified the men's experience.