• Bill Raines

Family Grateful to Rescuers who saved woman's life from fiery crash Friday in Avoca

AVOCA - NOVEMBER 20, 2022 - The family of Holly Mclaughin is grateful for the three rescuers who risked their own lives to save another Friday night. This Thanksgiving will be very special to the family. Without the help of the three men, things could be a lot different for the family.


A fiery crash happened around 9:30 p.m. had many in disbelief as the three men did what needed to be done with no thought to their health or safety.


Holly Mclaughin is recovering from a fiery crash Friday night on State Road 37 near Avoca; The family says she was released from the hospital and doing well


" We thank God every second of the day and you have been a blessing from the start to the end. She is getting stronger every day," said Diane Guthrie's sister Holly Mclaughin about the rescuers who helped Saturday night.


Three rescuers sprang into action Friday night during a fiery crash just south of the Avoca turnoff with one of the rescuers describing what happened that night.


George Wheeler one of the three men who helped Holly out of her vehicle Friday night


" We were following Holly's vehicle when for some unknown reason the vehicle started going back and forth in the median of Indiana State Road 37 just north of the Avoca turnoff," said George Wheeler one of the rescuers who helped get Holly out of her vehicle.


"The vehicle was headed towards the northbound lane several times and we was going to turnoff onto Indiana State Road 54, but something told me to keep watch on the vehicle. The vehicle then again started headed towards the northbound lane; I thought sure the vehicle will go into the northbound lane and hit several vehicles head on. Holly's vehicle ended up striking a warning sign and immediately the vehicle caught fire,"



Three men which included George Wheeler, of Bedford, Ellis Mattison, of Hillham, Indiana, and Konnor Porter, stopped and rushed over to Holly's car to immediately help.


Ellis Mattison went and broke out the window of the car, to help get Holly freed then both Porter and Mattison reaching in to pull Holly out of her car.


" Both Mattison and Porter grabbed both of her arms, and I grabbed her legs. There was fire everywhere even on the ground around us. The car was popping and of course you are worried about explosion," said George Wheeler.


" We carried her several feet away from the vehicle because the ground around the vehicle was also on fire. She had some burns on her arms that we were concerned about," said Wheeler.


" It seemed like it took forever for the fire department to get there. The fire department responded from the area of the Johnny's Junxions responded to the accident. We did not understand of why the fire department from Oolitic was not called. It seemed like it took forever. The police department got there pretty quick helping us." added George.


The family has tried to reach out to all the rescuers and thanking them for what they have done. " If we have missed talking to you, and we hope to meet all of my baby sister's guardian angels from that night," said Diana Mclaughin.


The Bedford Fire Department and Marshall Township Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene getting the fire under control and started treating accident victims.


IU Lifeline Ambulance departs from the accident scene to IU Health Bloomington Hospital


IU Lifeline Ambulance arrived at the scene and eventually taking Holly to Bloomington Hospital because no air ambulances were available at the time of the accident.


There is no word yet, on what caused Holly for her to lose control of her vehicle, or a medical condition contributing to the accident.


" A huge thank you to all of the rescuers. They did an amazing job and saved her life. I will forever be in debt to them," said Megan Duncan


Holly enjoys Christmas


Holly's family tells the Lawrence County Zephyr that she loves Christmas and was born in December just a few days before.


None of the three men wanted in special recognition for their heroic deeds Friday night. " If it was my son or daughter, or grandson or granddaughter, I would want someone else do the same thing," said Wheeler.


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