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Pinedale Online > News > January 2011 > Update on Bernie Holz rescue story

Narrow escape . Photo by Madison Belus.
Narrow escape
Bernie Holz pulls trapped passenger, John Oller, through the broken cab skylight and drags him away from the wreckage of a burning semi-truck with only seconds to spare before the cab becomes fully engulfed in flames. Holz rescued two men from the burning truck, risking his own life and saving theirs. The man standing at right is unidentified. Photo by 13-year old Madison Belus.
Update on Bernie Holz rescue story
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
January 16, 2011

Editorís Update, Sunday, January 16, 2011: Since writing the story about a truck wreck accident on January 8th on Interstate 25 south of Kaycee, Wyoming, in which former Pinedale resident Bernie Holz played a role in the rescue of two trapped men, additional details have emerged.

Weíve learned that the truck involved was a moving van carrying the household contents of several families. The truck originated in Florida and was headed from California with several loads to drop off in various states along the way back east. The three men inside had just recently met and were on their first trip together for the moving and driving job. Two were from Las Vegas, Nevada, and one was from New York. One of the furniture loads inside belonged to a couple who had just moved from Las Vegas to Sheridan, Wyoming. All of their belongings were destroyed in the fire from the crash. Both the husband and wife are doctors. When asked if they needed anything, they said that while they were devastated and will have to rebuild everything, they will be ok. They were glad that all the people involved survived.

The third man who was involved in the crash called from the hospital to relate more of this story. He corrected his name from what was in the Wyoming Highway Patrol report. He is John Oller, not Roller, from Las Vegas, Nevada. He is still in Wyoming Medical Center in Sheridan undergoing extensive physical therapy for a broken back and broken rib. He will have to remain in the hospital for 3-6 weeks to learn to walk again. He has regained the feeling in his legs, but is walking with a walker. He was in the top bunk of the sleeper when the accident occurred, trying to get to sleep before his turn of driving. The privacy shade was zipped closed making the room dark, so he didnít see what happened. He felt the truck swerve and hit something and knew they were going to crash. He said the truck was on fire before it stopped. Something shifted in the crash and he lost all feeling to the lower half of his body and couldnít feel his legs. "John (the driver) tried to grab that glass with his bare hands," Oller said. His companion in the truck, Richie, hesitated in getting out due to all the broken glass. Oller said Bernie told him if he didnít get out now, both of them would die. Oller said, "Iím lucky to be alive. There were so many selfless acts of heroism by many people that day." He said he has many weeks of therapy left to fully recover but, "Iím going to walk out of here. If it werenít for Bernie, I donít know that Iíd be able to do that." Oller said he wants to someday meet Bernie Holz and shake his hand. He would also like to meet and shake the hand of the second man who helped and comforted him after the accident, but this person remains unidentified.

Click on this link for the entire story: An act of heroism by former Pinedale resident Bernie Holz Pinedale Online, Jan. 11, 2011

Pinedale Online > News > January 2011 > Update on Bernie Holz rescue story

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