Woman called "hero" after saving lives

By Erica Quednau | equednau@wcia.com

Published 04/02 2014 04:32PM

Updated 04/04 2014 01:11PM

DOUGLAS COUNTY -- Without thinking twice, a woman risked her own life to save others. Now, she's being called a hero.

Two cars crashed just north of Tuscola, Saturday night. It was near the intersection of County Roads 1050 East and 1450 North. A man ran the stop sign and hit an SUV. 

Andrea Bratten, of Villa Grove, says she saw the whole thing happen. 

"My grandmother, my fiance's mother and I were driving to Tuscola to go have dinner. The red car did not stop at the stop sign and just t-boned the Explorer.  I don't even know if there's a word to describe it. It was horrific," said Bratten.

But instead of letting fear take over, her adrenaline kicked in.

"I don't know. I just got out," said Bratten.

Bratten got out of her own car to help. Her first stop was the red car with two people inside.

"I just grabbed him by the arms and was trying to pull him out like screaming at him, 'The car's on fire! The car's on fire!' and then I just pulled him out through the window," said Bratten.

"She was able to stick her head in and grab these two guys one at a time and drag them to safety. One of them was over six feet tall, 200 pounds," said Douglas County Chief Deputy Peter Buckley.

Once they were okay, Bratten went to the Explorer and asked if the driver was okay.

"She said, 'My Grandpa,' that her grandpa was in the car but I didn't see her grandpa. I just saw the bone, his femur bone sticking out and that's when I went in," said Bratten.
She sat with the 73-year old until the paramedics came.

"He was having trouble breathing and I was working on breathing exercises with him just to calm him down," said Bratten.

"I can't imagine a lot of people not hesitating to do something like Ms. Bratten did but she was fantastic." 

But Bratten says she's not a hero. She just had some help.

"I believe in God and I believe that He was there the whole entire time. I just feel like that's what everyone should do," said Bratten.

Chief Deputy Buckey says he admires what Bratten did and they plan to honor her heroic efforts at a county meeting. As for the driver of the red car, 29-year old Matthew Wheeler was arrested for drunk driving.

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