POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Two men received honorary trooper certificates on Monday after saving two people from a burning car near Naylor, Missouri in October.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Heath Moon and Jeffrey Thomas risked their own safety to get the driver and a toddler out of a burning car after it crashed into a tree on October 7.
Moon was first one on scene. He is a UPS employee and happened upon the scene seconds after the crash.
"I actually made a wrong turn thinking I knew where I was going and then I pulled up behind him when I was actually in the wrong place. Wrong place, right time is what it was," Moon said.
Moon got out of his vehicle and tried to extinguish the fire first with his bottle of water. However, the fire grew quickly.
"The flame was real small on the motor at this point so I would try to pull him out but it caught on the tree, the grass around the tree, and it instantly engulfed the whole vehicle," Moon added.
Moon was able to pick up the toddler with the safety seat he was in and moved him away from the burning vehicle.
Thomas owns the land where the crash happened.
After the toddler was saved, Moon was trying to put out the flames when Thomas came by and tried to get the driver out. Thomas failed to get him out the first time.
"I seen smoke coming across my field and when I got there, Heath was already at the vehicle and we just had to jump and do what we had to do," Thomas said. "There wasn't time to think."
Moon then tried to get the driver out himself but failed as well.
"In that situation, I didn't want to sit there and watch a man die and burn in front of me," Thomas added. "You do what you have to do. Jump in the vehicle with the whole front end on fire. That's what we had to do so that's what we did."
They both worked together and were able to get the driver out of the car before the fire consumed the entire vehicle.
"My kids are number one to me so he is seeing them every day means a lot," Thomas said. "And now that father can see his kids and he don't have to see them from the sky."
Missouri Highway Patrol showed up on scene moments later to find both victims about 100 feet away from their car.
The driver broke both legs and had a head injury. The toddler had injuries as well, but both of them were still alive.
They were taken to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center where they received treatment.
"The actions of Mr. Moon and Mr. Thomas were exemplary," Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Vitale said. "They both uphold the motto of the Missouri State Highway Patrol of service and protection. I am certain the injured occupants would have not been able to exit the burning vehicle on their own and without the assistance of Mr. Moon and Mr. Thomas. Their quick response and unselfish disregard for their own personal safety prevented two certain deaths from occurring."
"I got kids at home and I know that man is going to be able to wake up in the mornings and give his kids a kiss goodbye and go to school or maybe watch, if he has a daughter, maybe watch her get married one day. Without me and Heath that day, it might not of happened," said Thomas.