NEWARK, NJ – On the morning of Tuesday, October 11th, First Sergeant (1SG) Michael Huson was conducting his normal business driving to one of the seven Army Recruitment Centers that he manages. As he was exiting the highway, he passed a tractor trailer completely on its side along the side of the road. At first glance it appeared to have been placed there out of the way of traffic to be recovered at a later time. As he drove by, though, he noticed the wheels were still moving and smoke was coming from the vehicle. He immediately exited his vehicle and rushed over to the overturned tractor trailer.
Upon approaching the vehicle, 1SG Huson instructed a bystander to call 911. He noticed movement in the cab and a body on the driver side door that was now the floor of the cab. He went to the back of the cab to climb up to open the top door and get inside. As he was about to climb up, he noticed fuel pouring out of the passenger fuel tank to the ground near the exhaust stack that was now on the ground. He did not let this deter him, though, and continued to climb, lifted the passenger side door up and found an injured female looking up at him and an injured driver beneath her.
Another citizen then arrived at the vehicle and climbed up to help, holding the door as 1SG Huson entered the cab. Upon positioning himself in the cab, 1SG Huson helped the female passenger climb out and, at that point, realized that neither the driver nor his passenger spoke English. Luckily the individual holding the door was able to act as a translator, providing guidance and comfort to them.
After helping the female exit the vehicle, 1SG Huson turned his attention on the driver, and noticed that his legs were pinned. Since he couldn’t be moved, 1SG Huson administered first aid and assessed his condition. The driver had head trauma from his head hitting the window and there was clearly something wrong with his upper body. After a little work, 1SG Huson was able to free the driver’s legs and made him as comfortable as possible. There was no moving him up in his condition so with the help of the interrupter, they kept him alert and awake.
Approximately 25 minutes later, the police and fire departments, with EMS, arrived. They decided to cut out the window, requiring 1SG Huson to cover the driver and himself with a blanket to protect them from debris and glass. Once the window was removed, both were able to be evacuated from the overturned vehicle.
The entire time 1SG Huson was the only one ever in the cab. Later one of 1SG Huson’s subordinates informed him that it took several hours to clear the road and that the vehicle had caught fire.
When asked why he decided to stop and aid these individuals, 1SG Huson stated “It was the right thing to do. We fight the good fight daily with civilians and our reputation in communities, I hope my actions are a display of our character, as any Soldier in my company would have done the same.”