Soldier injured while helping motorists involved in Kellogg pileup

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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WICHITA, Kan. -- On his way home from work late Friday night at the El Dorado Correctional Facility, Eric McFarland came up on a big accident on icy westbound Kellogg near the Hillside exit. As a national guardsmen, his first instinct was to get out and help and make sure everyone was alright.

McFarland, 22, went vehicle to vehicle, finally reaching a damaged van with three emotional young women inside.

"That's the absolute last thing I remember," McFarland said.

What happened next would leave him in the hospital for days.

"I was assisting a lady out of her car when I heard a loud collision," said Corey Timmons, who had also stopped to help.

Timmons says he looked up just in time to see a truck crash into the cars that had already been in the original accident.

"I saw (Eric's) body fly about ten feet in the air and smack the concrete," Timmons said.

Timmons was on his way home a going away party. He's preparing to leave for basic training with the Air Force. He also just happens to be an EMT.

"I ran over to him and he was just lying their unconscious and bleeding really good from a pretty good size gash in his forehead," Timmons said.

Timmons held his neck steady until paramedics could arrive.

When Eric's wife Samantha got to the hospital, she found out Eric had suffered a broken femur, a collapsed lung, and three broken teeth.

He'd undergo surgery Saturday.

"The first thing out of (Samantha's) mouth was, 'It's too bad he's so nice,'" Eric's sister Kayla said.

Kayla and Samantha say they aren't surprised at all that he stopped to help.

"He's always that way," Kayla said.

"Like, he holds the door for everyone when we go to the store. I'll be standing there for ten minutes!" Samantha said.

They say they believe his kindness is partly why Eric stopped to help Friday night.

They believe the other part is his training with the military and with the El Dorado Correctional Facility.

"We're taught that if somebody is broken down on the side of the road, it is our obligation and our duty to make sure they are OK," Eric said.

For those who were there that night, like Wayne Moore and his wife, they say that makes Eric a man of incredible character.

And, they say, they didn't want that character and Eric's efforts to go unnoticed.

"He stepped to help and do what he could and he was injured in the process," Moore said. "That young man in my eyes will always be a hero."

Eric McFarland was discharged from the hospital late Monday. His family says Eric has a long road to recovery but they're excited to be bringing him home.

Troopers with the Kansas Highway Patrol say if you are going to stop and help at an accident, park in front of the accident vehicles and out of the roadway. They say try your best to stay on the shoulder of the road because many motorists likely won't see you as they come up on the accident scene. They also suggest carrying bright, reflective clothing in your car that you can put on while you are assisting others.

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