By Christin Coyne
When an idling truck holding an unattended 2-year-old girl rolled into traffic on U.S. Highway 180 East in Mineral Wells on April 5, several soldiers passing through town risked their lives to save her.
Pfc. Tex Burgains, Spc. Cory Morris, Cpl. Diego Castro, Pfc. Shaun Murray and Spc. Andrew Stiles were on their way back to their barracks in Weatherford when they stopped at a convenience store near the entrance to Fort Wolters Industrial Complex around 9 p.m., according to Staff Sergeant Erik Lorah.
“When they drove up into the parking lot, they noticed a white F-250 pick-up going backwards,” Lorah said. “The soldiers' first thought was that the driver of the truck was intoxicated because the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed.”
When the men realized that the pick-up had no driver and saw a young girl in a car seat in the back, Burgains and Morris jumped out of their van and ran to help, according to Lorah.
The idling truck is believed to have jumped out of park into reverse before going over both curbs between the parking lot and the road, entering the highway, and curving back towards a steep ravine on the side of the convenience store.
Burgains jumped into the truck, gained control of the vehicle and turned it into the highway turn lane while Morris stopped traffic, according to Lorah.
Castro backed the van onto the highway to provide a blockade from oncoming traffic for the rescue, while the other soldiers helped stop traffic so Burgain could pull the truck back into the parking lot.
The speed of traffic in front of the convenience store is usually between 40 and 45 miles per hour.
“The little girl was very scared and crying,” Lorah said.
“We didn't know what was happening until it was over,” Darla Faulkner, an employee at the gas station, said.
Faulkner said the father was inside using the ATM when he suddenly ran outside.
“We've seen some pretty bad wrecks,” but never witnessed anything like that, Faulkner said.
The father was crying when reunited with his daughter and offered the soldiers a $500 reward, which the men turned down, Lorah said.
The five men recently transferred out of the 327th Quarry Platoon out of Brownwood, Texas, to Bravo Company 840th MAC unit in Weatherford, which will be deploying later this year.
“I'm very proud of them,” Lorah said. He is seeking medals for the five soldiers.
By Christin Coyne
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