KILLDEER, N.D. — A 20-year-old Vergas, Minn., native rescued a man who had gotten pinned under the driver’s side door of his semi-truck after a rollover accident near Killdeer on Saturday, May 18.
Logan Schrupp, who works in the oilfields, was on his way home to get some sleep after finishing a 12-hour overnight shift when he saw another man standing in the road ahead, waving his arms to flag him down. Schrupp saw the crashed semi lying upside-down on the side of the road, then turned on his hazard lights and pulled over.
“I noticed there was a guy hanging out the driver’s side window of the semi,” Schrupp said. “The door had caved in on the guy. The support on the back side of the door had busted when it rolled over, so he was pinched in pretty good. I said, ‘We need to get this guy out.’”
There was no one else around to help; it was just Schrupp and the man who flagged him down. That man turned out to be another oilfield worker, and like Schrupp, he just happened to be driving by and saw the flipped semi. It was cold and snowing outside, and the two didn’t know how long the driver had been stuck or what injuries he might have suffered in the crash. He was shivering but conscious, Schrupp said.
“He was pretty quiet. I don’t think he was getting a whole lot of air to him, (because) he was pinched in. When I came up, all he could say was, ‘Help me,’ and he was reaching his arms out.”
Schrupp and the other man, whose Schrupp only knows as Thomas, sprang into action. Thomas pulled on the driver’s side door of the semi, and Schrupp was able to pull the driver free.
They called 911 right after that and waved down a passing semi so they could use that driver’s emergency warning triangles for traffic control. By that point, Schrupp said, a few other cars had slowed down at the scene, and some people were taking pictures and asking questions.
The crash happened at 5:55 a.m. at the intersection of BIA Road 14 and Highway 22, about 20 miles north of Killdeer in Dunn County. On Friday, the North Dakota State Patrol said the crash was still under investigation. They identified the driver as 55-year-old Felix Cuello, of Eunice, New Mexico.
According to Schrupp, Cuello was visibly shaken and emotional after being pulled from the semi. Schrupp stayed with him until after the authorities arrived, bringing Cuello into his heated vehicle to warm him up, give him some water and use his First Aid skills to check for any broken bones or bleeding. Remarkably, he didn’t appear to have any major injuries.
Schrupp learned that Cuello, who was driving a water tanker semi, had been on his way to deliver water to the same drill site that Schrupp had just come from. Schrupp works for Stray Creek Services, performing water transfer services for hydraulic fracturing. The 2017 Perham High School graduate lives in North Dakota most of the time now but still returns to Vergas on his weeks off.
Schrupp said Cuello doesn’t speak a lot of English, but he did talk a little about the accident, and he asked Schrupp to call his family for him.
“He kept thanking me for getting him out,” Schrupp said.
Within minutes, multiple emergency vehicles were on site — fire trucks, an ambulance and local police, sheriff and state patrol cars. Emergency responders checked Cuello for injuries and determined that he did not need medical attention. He ended up being picked up by some friends.
The state patrol said Cuello was traveling southbound down Highway 22, attempting to turn east onto BIA Road 14, when he lost control of the semi due to snowy conditions and the tanker trailer rolled onto its roof mid-turn.
“If he had landed on the driver’s side, judging by how the passenger’s side looked, he would have been dead for sure,” Schrupp said. “The passenger’s side door was crunched.”
Schrupp said he didn’t really know what to think when he first drove up to the scene. He does a lot of driving for his job and sees a lot of accidents, “but when you actually get up close and see that there’s somebody in that accident, and you have to get them out, it really changes your view and makes you want to stop for every single one,” he said.
“I didn’t have a whole lot running through my head besides, ‘We gotta get this guy out’ at the moment,” he added. “I was just thankful that we got there when we did and we got him out… It’s crazy how an ordinary, everyday drive can all of a sudden be extraordinary.”