"Bryan Fritz, one of our supervisors here at [The Transition House’s Dinsmore facility], without regard to his personal safety pulled a car accident victim from a burning vehicle. Bryan is an exemplary employee always going above and beyond in all of his duties as a supervisor for TTH; he can be counted on in any situation. I would like to recognize him for his actions. He has shunned the spotlight and displayed a lot of humility, lamenting that the driver lost his life and that he could not do more."
- Steven W. Alford, The Transition House Facility Director, Dinsmore CRCThe following is an article from The Lake City Reporter.
Good Samaritans Couldn’t Save Victim in Car Crash
Fort white man dies after fiery three-vehicle wreck.
Bryan Fritz, working his shift at a nearby S&S store, rushed out of the building with a fire extinguisher when he saw flames erupt from a van that had just been struck twice at the intersection of State Road 247 and County Road 240 around 1 p.m. Friday.
“I could see fire underneath the van,” he said. “I got that out, sprayed under the hood and opened up the van door and saw he was on fire. The guy inside was unconscious on fire.”
Fritz said the driver and lone occupant of the vehicle – 69-year-old Jess Leroy Davidson of Fort White – was burned on his legs and thighs. Fritz and another unidentified good samaritan pulled him from the van.
“Then three other guys came over and I said ‘We’ve got to get him away from this in case this van blows,’” he said. “He was unconscious, there was no response.”
Critically injured Davidson died later that day at Lake City Medical Center. No one in the other two vehicles was seriously hurt, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.
According to FHP, Arnaldo Garcia, 41, of Jacksonville, who was headed west on CR 240 in a 2011 Toyota Camry, failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of SR 247, putting him right in the path of Davidson’s 1995 Dodge van, which was headed north.
The vehicles collided, sending the van into the southbound lane of SR 247 where it was hit head-on by a 2005 Ford F-150 driven by Donald Nix, 63, also of Fort White.
Nix, passenger Gloria Nix, 61, and Garcia were all treated for minor injuries at LCMC. No one else was hurt, though that nearly wasn't the case.
Ryan Whitwood and his family were sitting under a tree near the intersection selling livestock – free-range chickens and a pig – when the wreck occurred.
Whitwood and his family were more than 100 feet from the impact, he said, but a battery from one of the vehicles nearly struck them.
“It was a mess,” Whitwood said. “I saw the car run the stop sign, the car hit the van and the truck hit the van. The van went airborne after the collision. The car went into a spinning motion and the pickup truck stopped the spin when it hit the van.”
Whitwood said after the second impact he and others ran to pull crash victims from the pickup while other people ran to check on the man in the van.
“We had to pull the people out of the pickup truck,” Whitwood said. "The driver had a cut on his arm and a cut on his wrist. The woman had a cut on her knee and on her head, it looked like she hit the windshield.”
near the intersection was rerouted for hours through a nearby S&S convenience store parking lot and along the road’s shoulder as investigators collected evidence at the scene.
The investigation is ongoing, FHP said.
In a Facebook post Friday evening, Fritz asked for information on the other individuals who helped pull Davidson from the van.
“If anyone knows who the guy was… please let me know so I can thank him, because he is a hero…” he wrote.
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