Fred (70) jumped into a moving truck and stopped it just in time
The 70-year-old Fred tells RTL Nieuws that he was on his way to a church in Voerendaal, near Heerlen. There he sings once every four weeks during Sunday mass. “At a junction a truck came to meet us.”
They thought the truck was about to turn there, or perform some other maneuver. “He drove slowly towards us, so we reversed ten yards. Maybe he needed more space.” But then Fred saw that something was wrong: the person behind the wheel had become unwell.
“I quickly got out of the car and opened the cabin door.” Standing on the ladder of the truck and half hanging in the cab, he tried to help the driver. “In the meantime, my wife called 911 from our car.”
He noticed that the driver’s feet were slightly depressing the clutch pedal and the accelerator pedal. The truck was also still in gear. Fred had to think quickly: if the foot came off the clutch, the truck would move forward at full throttle.
“The driver was not approachable and sat diagonally in his seat, so I straightened him.” But then the driver’s right leg shifted, increasing the throttle. “The car darted straight into a garden towards a house.”
Truck came to a stop
Fred reacted quickly. “I pulled one leg off the throttle while putting weight on the other leg with my knee so that the clutch was fully depressed.” The truck came to a stop a few meters from the house.
When Fred, still holding the driver’s leg on the clutch, turned off the engine with the push of the start button, the danger was definitely a thing of the past.
The police, fire brigade and an ambulance were then quickly on the spot. Fred, meanwhile, was trapped between the door and a hedge that the truck had hit. “The branches were cut off, and I quickly made my way back to church.”
The realization of what happened only came this afternoon. “My wife was quite shocked, she had of course seen everything happen.” But it also eventually came to Fred. “I would rather not think doom, but it could have ended much worse. It makes me emotional when I think about it.”
This afternoon he paid a visit to the woman who lives in the house. “She was glad it had just gone well, otherwise the truck would have entered her kitchen. She thanked me.”
Act of valor
The police also thanks Fred and speaks of a heroic act. He himself thinks the title ‘hero’ is a bit exaggerated. “This morning I was nothing, and now I am suddenly a hero. It all happened in a flash, and I made the right decision in a split second.”
He himself is especially pleased with the message that the truck driver is doing well under the circumstances. “Yes”, Fred sighs. “It could have turned out very differently.”