As students are enjoying their spring break by soaking in the sun at ocean-front destinations and hitting mountainous slopes across the country, Tarleton English professor Dr. Sam Dodson and his wife Bethany are also enjoying the break from classes. Both are employed by Tarleton and have have spent the holiday at their Fort Worth home reading, relaxing - and saving a life.
Thursday morning at around 10:30, the Dodsons were at home in an upstairs room and enjoying a good book when they heard a loud noise. Both rushed downstairs - Bethany in the lead - to find that a suburban had crashed into their own parked vehicle. Not only did the car crash, but flames immediately ignited.
Sam rushed to the aid of the driver, John Garrington, who appeared to be groggy and "out of it."
"We acted instinctively more than anything," Dodson said.
Sam fought the flames to open the door, unbuckle Garrington's seat belt and pull the man from the vehicle.
"The car was engulfed in flames in five minutes," Dodson said.
The Dodsons then carried the accident victim over their shoulders to their front porch where he sat "stooped and dazed."
While the story appeared on Dallas-Fort Worth area television news stations, the couple's actions have also been noticed in the Cowboy Capital. Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio has commended the Dodsons' swift action.
"Dr. Dodson's brave and quick-thinking response to a neighbor in extreme danger is a source of great inspiration for the Tarleton family," Dottavio said. "By such a selfless act, Sam demonstrated the highest values of the university, which he and our other faculty have passed along to our students for generations. We are proud of Sam's deed, and happy for the life that was spared."
After Sam and Bethany removed Garrington from the vehicle and got him safely away from the flames, paramedics arrived and transported him to a hospital.
Garrington had the flu for the past several days and was very groggy, according to Dodson. "He had left work early to go home and recuperate," he added.
Garrington lives in the same neighborhood as the Dodsons, less than two blocks away.
"We hope to enjoy a less dramatic rest of the week," Dodson said.