Saving Corey

“It was a beautiful night, clean and dry,” says Ty Mauzerolle, a lease operator and CDL Instructor who’s been with Prime Inc. for 7 years.  Around 9 p.m. on June 4, 2020, Ty was heading west on I-40 just outside of Holbrooke, Arizona, with his student, Leonel Sanchez.  A light ahead on the side of the road caught his eye, and as he approached, he realized a car was on fire.  Then he noticed another smashed car nearby that was facing traffic.

Thinking quickly, Ty came to a stop and positioned his truck, so it partially blocked traffic and protected the two vehicles.  As it turned out, he was the first person on the scene of a head-on collision.

Ty grabbed his fire extinguisher and scanned the wreckage.  “The car facing the wrong way did not show signs of life,” he says.  “The other vehicle was on fire, and I could hear the screams of a child coming from it.”

For a brief moment, Ty made eye contact with the driver of the car that was on fire, but it only lasted for a few seconds before the driver suddenly went unconscious.  “Looking back, I think he was waiting to make sure someone was there to take care of his son,” Ty says.

The boy in the back of the car was 10-year-old Corey, who was trapped between the roll cage and the seat.  Ty’s first priority was putting out the fire in the engine compartment with his fire extinguisher.  Soon, another car pulled up on the scene and helped put out the flames.  Then, Ty said they should try to get Corey out of the vehicle.  “There were no medics there yet, but I was afraid the engine would flare back up and I wanted to get him out of there,” Ty says.  He worked to pry the bar off Corey’s legs and eventually pulled him from the smoldering car.

Ty carried Corey about 20 feet from the wreckage and placed him on a blanket over the shattered glass.  “I sat there with him until police arrived, and then eventually fire and EMS showed up,” Ty says.  As he remembers it, Corey didn’t look too bad at the scene, but he was in a lot of pain.  “There was minimal blood, but later we found out that both of his arms ended up being broken, and he had a broken femur and a couple of cracked ribs.”  When Corey was too scared to let medics administer pain medications through a shot, Ty made him a deal.  “I promised to give him my Nintendo Switch if he would let the medics give him the shot,” Ty says.  Corey finally agreed, and Ty sent his co-driver to grab the Nintendo Switch out of the truck.

EMS assessed that Corey’s injuries were beyond what they could handle, so they called a life flight helicopter to take him to Flagstaff.  Ty waited for more than an hour with Corey while the fire department worked to free Corey’s dad from the car.  Tragically, both Corey’s dad and the other driver were pronounced dead at the scene.  When Corey was taken into the helicopter, Ty handed the Nintendo Switch and a slip of paper with his contact information to the medic.  The Switch made it to Flagstaff, but the slip of paper with Ty’s contact information was lost.

About a year later, Ty heard from some friends on Facebook that a woman was looking for a truck driver from York County, Maine, where Ty was living at the time.  It turned out to be Corey’s mother, who had used Ty’s registration information on the Nintendo Switch to find out where he was from.  She was trying to thank him for what he did for Corey.  Ty made contact through Facebook and was able to catch up with both Corey and his mother.  Ty learned Corey wound up spending three months at Phoenix Children’s hospital after the accident.  He made a full recovery but has some physical limitations as a result of his injuries.  The two stay in touch now, and Ty has sent gifts for Corey’s birthday and Christmas.  “I try to give them space,” Ty says.  “I don’t want to be the person that reminds them of the worst day of their lives, but I have sent a new controller, a dock, games, and a case for the Switch.”

Since the accident, Ty has been recognized by the press and several organizations for rescuing Corey.  He received the Arizona Department of Public Safety Lifesaving Award and the Highway Angel Award from the Truckload Carriers Association.  “I didn’t do anything that night to get recognition,” Ty says.  “I just did it because it was the right thing to do.”

Read more in the Prime magazine, Prime Ways – The Strong Road

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