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Quick-acting couple save two from highway crash

By Lindsey Gordon

Published 08/08 2014 09:31PM

Updated 08/11 2014 10:39AM

COLES COUNTY -- A husband and wife stop for an accident on the highway and the husband pulls a man from an SUV seconds before a semi-truck smashes into it. The accident happened just before midnight Thursday on I-57, outside of Charleston.

Would you put your life in danger to save another person? It’s a question Matthew and Laura Johnson had to answer.

"We knew they were in danger. Yes, we were in danger by helping, but we wouldn't have it any other way," said Laura.

The Johnsons say they were heading to Champaign from Springfield, Missouri. They were only an hour away. They say the highway was dark and wet when they nearly hit an over-turned SUV.

"It was terrifying, it absolutely was," said Laura.

Matthew Johnson is a nurse and works in ICU. He says his first instinct was to get out and see if everyone was okay. He says the passenger of the vehicle was out and walking around. The driver was still inside.

"By the time that we had gotten him out and gotten him on his way back to the car, is when the semi-truck hit his SUV and flipped it over and flipped it on top of our car to the point that both of us ran to the ravine and dove head first and just had this SUV roll right over behind us," said Matthew.

The SUV was rolled into the Johnson’s car. Laura, their dog, and the passenger were in it.

"It was a very close call," said Matthew, but no one was hurt further.

"Who knows what could have happened if we hadn't pulled over and helped out," he said.

The state police report says the passenger had been ejected from the SUV. He was taken to the hospital. The driver was unharmed and thankful.

"The one he actually said, 'thank you,' multiple times over, he's like, ‘I wouldn't have been alive if it wasn't for you,’" said Matthew Johnson.

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