Twice in one week, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Sergeant Tracy Miller helped extricate victims from being trapped in potentially deadly situations.
First, he saved a man tangled in the jaws of a backhoe, and a few days later, he pulled a man from underneath an 18-wheeler loaded with over 26,000 pounds.
The 26-year Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office veteran responded Monday around 1:40 p.m. to Interstate 16 near the 128 mile marker, where a 27-year-old Richmond Hill man was pinned underneath the 2015 Freightliner loaded with 26,000 pounds of cargo, said Bulloch County Sheriff’s Cpl. Doug Harrell in a report filed on the incident.
The man, whom Miller said was a service technician trying to replace a tire on the 18-wheeler, was pinned by a rear bar on the truck after the jack slipped, Harrell reported.
Unsure of whether the situation involved a wreck or other accident, as 911 operators were unclear at the time on the cause of entrapment, Miller arrived and immediately assessed the situation. The truck’s driver “didn’t know what to do,” he said.
A normal jack would not be sufficient to pick up the truck, he said, but Miller used the technician’s air jack and lifted the truck enough so others – including Harrell, deputies Mike Waters and Bradley Sullivan as well as Nevils firefighter Eric Hodges – pulled the man to safety.
The driver was treated by Bulloch County EMS and flown by Life Star to a Savannah hospital, were he is being treated for a fractured back, Miller said.
“They say he is going to be all right – there were no internal injuries,” he said.
This was the second time in a week Miller encountered a potentially life-threatening situation where he helped save the victim, said Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown.
Miller responded Sept. 19 to an area off Highway 46 near Pembroke after Bulloch County 911 received calls about a man “yelling in the woods.”
People living on nearby Lee Road heard a man yelling, but could not locate him. When Miller arrived, he met with another concerned citizen on a four-wheeler, who gave Miller a ride back into the woods, as his patrol car could not make it to where the victim was trapped, he told the Statesboro Herald Tuesday.
The victim had bogged down a backhoe, and in using large, heavy ropes to try to get it out, accidentally snagged control arms on the heavy machinery and caused the boom to swivel, somehow “trapping his left arm and right hand,” Miller said.
The victim could not reach his cell phone, as both hands were trapped, and he had been yelling for two hours before being rescued, according to Bulloch County sheriff’s incident reports.
“He was able to tell us how to move the levers,” Miller said. He did so, and after the victim was extricated, he was flown to a hospital with injuries including a laceration to his right hand and crushing injuries to his left arm, he said.
Brown said this makes three times Miller has rescued victims this year. He helped two victims trapped in a mobile home escape the wreckage after a tornado near the Hubert Church Road area earlier this year, he said.
“This is the kind of stuff people never hear,” he said. “Tracy Miller will put his life on the line to help. It’s all about what he can do to help people.”
Miller says he is not a hero
“It is just being in the right place at the right time,” he said. “I have been doing this so many years now – it is knowing what you have to do and when to do it.”
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.