By Gabby Cress // Editor-in-Chief
When junior Joshua Echerd grabbed the wheel of a car traveling on the highway at 60 mph while the driver was seizing, he had no other thought that to just steer away from oncoming traffic.
The driver, Echerd’s then-Boy Scouts leader, was driving Echerd and two other boys back from a camping trip. Suddenly, he began seizing and thrashing in his seat, all while his foot was pushed all the way down on the accelerator. Echerd said his instincts took over, and he found himself steering the car that was attached to a small trailer.
“I veered us into a ditch in front of an AutoZone, and the collision sent me forward into the windshield,” Echerd said.
Luckily for Echerd, he walked away from the scene with just a few cuts and bruises and a massive headache.
“I guess I cracked the windshield with my head when I hit the windshield, [and] it didn’t break,” Echerd said. “Thankfully I didn’t go through it. It was pretty chaotic.”
From there, Echerd helped get his Boy Scouts leader out of the car and onto the ground, where he was still having a seizure and shaking violently.
“I remember I sat down on the sidewalk and just threw up. It was just crazy,” Echerd said.
Echerd attended the Governor’s Luncheon downtown where he received the award for Life Saving with Considerable Risk to Self presented by then-Governor Mike Pence, along with the two other boys in the car.
“Generally, when people get in a bad accident, they don’t want to talk about it at all,” Echerd said. “It’s always a cool experience, especially when you don’t die.”
Echerd said that when he took action that day in the truck, it was 110 percent pure adrenaline rush.
“I can safely say that was terrifying when I was in that truck,” Echerd said, “but I’ll tell you what, it was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”