Strangers Risk Own Lives to Save Gulf Shores Crash Victim

Photo courtesy: Heather Kirkland
Strangers rally to keep a car from slipping deeper into ICW in Gulf Shores

“It was a desperate situation. It was very scary.”

A dozen or so strangers struggling to keep a car from slipping deeper into the Intracoastal Canal. Images just moments after a car crash. One of those strangers is Chad Kirkland. “It was almost like it was in slow motion. I could see it happening.”

According to Gulf Shores Police Sgt. Jason Woodruff, 47-year-old Timothy Holley was driving east on Canal Road.
“He drifted over the west bound lane, over the shoulder and continued off the shoulder and hit a tree and actually came to rest in the water.”

Kirkland was in the car behind him. “I didn’t have time to think. I just threw the car in park and had to get the guy out of there.” He wasn’t alone. “That’s the time we started to roll it over,” he says pointing to one of the pictures of the crash, “but this is where we got really nervous about it thinking if the car rolled over it’s so deep, so fast, the car was going to go underwater.”

As many as 15 people, strangers with a common goal. “Lets get him out, we couldn’t get him out. Lets get it rolled over. Once we did that 8 or 10 more people jumped in the water to help not move the car.”

Firefighters and medics arrived moments later rushing Holley to the hospital and for those on the banks of the intracoastal waterway, it was over.

“We did everything we possibly could,” says Kirkland. “If it was my wife or my children or me in that car I would hope that people would do what we did. We didn’t think about it. We just did it. That’s what you have to do in that situation.”

Despite their efforts, Holley died later at a local hospital. Investigators believe a medical emergency may have led to the crash. The investigation is continuing.

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