A driver trapped inside his pickup truck after running off a rural Alabama road may be alive today thanks to the heroic actions of Alabama’s Dothan Regional Airport TSA officer Tim Stallings.
Earlier this week, Stallings was on his way to work around 3:30 a.m. when the wrecked truck and a ring of flames around it caught his eye. The driver had crossed the centerline and crashed into a line of trees.
Without hesitation or fear for his own life, Stallings quickly got out of his car and rushed to rescue the driver.
Stallings noticed the ground under the truck was on fire, and the driver was stuck in the vehicle. “I ran up to the truck and tried to open both driver’s side doors but couldn’t get them open,” he said.
The driver rolled his window down and told Stallings he couldn’t get the vehicle unlocked. “It took me a minute or two to get the locks to work, but the driver’s side door still wouldn’t open,” Stallings said. He was eventually able to reach in the window and unlock the doors.
Another driver passing by stopped to help Stallings carry the crash victim from the burning wreckage.
“We laid him on the ground, and I went back over to try to put out the fire,” Stallings recalled. “I extinguished most of the fire but couldn’t get under the vehicle to put out the rest of it.”
Stallings was supposed to be at work at 4 a.m. However, he stayed on the scene until emergency crews and police arrived and told them everything he knew about the crash and rescue.
Even though he may have saved a life, Stallings – a 24-year military veteran – does not consider himself a hero.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal,” he said. “I think I did what anyone would have done. I just focused on getting the guy out of the car.”
Federal Security Director Gail Linkins was not surprised to learn about Stallings’ heroic act. “His disregard for his own safety speaks volumes of his character,” said Linkins. “I am very proud of Officer Stallings’ lifesaving actions. Quick thinking, decisive action is an important skill for our officers.”