‘Forever my hero’: Kentucky woman pulled from car moments before it burst into flames

LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. — A Kentucky woman is thankful for being pulled from her car after hitting an icy patch and flipping over a bridge last month. The rescue by a coal miner happened moments before her car burst into flames.

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Mercedes Boggs said she was driving to work on Jan. 18 when she attempted to turn onto a bridge near Jenkins in eastern Kentucky.

“I didn’t think anything of it. I’ve driven that bridge a million times,” Boggs told WYMT. “I’ve drove that road a million times. I’ve lived here my whole life.”

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Boggs’ tire went over the bank of the bridge and her car flipped, the television station reported.

“At that point, I hit my head because I don’t remember anything. It knocked me out so I don’t remember anything except waking up from the water to the creek. It was really cold, so it woke me up,” Boggs told WYMT. “When I woke up and I came to, I realized that my windshield was shattered and I was just like in panic mode.”

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The car was on its side and icy water was pouring into it, and Boggs said she was trapped.

“When I was wrecking, I remember thinking that I’m getting ready to leave my whole family and like, I didn’t think that I was going to make it out,” Boggs told WMYT.

That is when John Burke, a coal miner heading home from his shift, walked down the hill to Boggs’ car, the television station reported. Burke pulled Boggs out of her vehicle and helped her walk up the hill to safety.

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“When I saw him, it was just like everything was fine. I wasn’t even scared anymore. I just knew that that was like my saving grace,” Boggs told WMYT. “Kids look up to like Batman and Superman and like those superheroes. That’s how I look at John now. He will forever be my hero. He was the person that saved my life.”

Seconds after escaping, Boggs saw her car burst into flames.

“Thirty seconds, we turned around and the car went up into flames like literally, he saved my life,”Boggs told WMYT. “Had I just sat there in that car, that would have been me. I would have been what was burning.”

Boggs, who did not suffer any major injuries, said she realized she had no way to contact Burke to thank him. She sent out a note on Facebook, asking people to find him. After 900 shares, Burke got wind of the post and messaged Boggs, the television station reported.

“He said he hadn’t been able to sleep all day that he was wondering how that girl was that was in that car accident so he was just as thankful to hear from me as I was to hear from him,” Boggs said.

She says Burke is humble and is just glad he could help.

“He’s like, ‘It’s really fine. It was no big deal I just kinda stopped and helped,’” Boggs told WMYT. “But like to my family and to me he saved my life. Looking at the pictures, my driver’s seat was burnt up like that was the entire driver’s seat was burnt up. It was gone.”

Boggs, meanwhile, needs a new vehicle and posted a plea on Facebook.

“Looking for a used vehicle, low mileage,” she wrote. “Someone point me in the right direction.”

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