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Man Saves Teen From Burning Vehicle In Castalian Springs

Posted at 5:27 PM, Aug 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-07 21:02:20-04

Bill Tate and his daughter, Leonetta, have spent a lot of time on their horse farm in Castalian Springs. Life there has been pretty easy going, but that wasn't the case a few days back when Bill was taking Leonetta to school.

They had just rounded a curve on a rural road when they were stopped by a bad wreck.

"I looked over and I saw the car upside down in the ditch, in the woods," said Bill. Teen sisters Kirsten and Lauren Russell were in the Jeep, and Lauren had made it out.

"I said are you ok? She said yeah. I said is anyone with you? She said my sister," Bill explained. 

Bill made his way down the embankment, "I looked in, I saw her. She was upside down, she wasn't conscious."

The vehicle was beginning to catch fire as Bill worked to free the 16-year-old.

"She opened up her eyes. I said, 'Hi, my name is Bill.' She said, 'Please don't let me burn, don't leave me.' I said, 'I promise you I'll get you out,'" said Bill. 

Using nothing but his pocket knife and strength, Bill pulled the teen to safety, and as he set her on the road, he looked back.

"I didn't realize, I didn't even look at it, but the car was engulfed in flames," he said. "Then it blew!"

Kirsten was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with a head injury, but was expected to be ok. Her sister suffered a few scratches.

Bill has visited the lot where their vehicle was taken. It's a reminder of how close one of them came to tragedy and how everything is meant to happen for a reason. 

"He saved somebody's life, and that's exciting for me," 8-year-old Leonetta said. 

"I believe it was divine intervention... We're here for a purpose, and I'm so glad she's okay," said Bill.