Early morning vehicle fatality averted by TSA officer’s instinctive action

Wednesday, March 6, 2024
Early morning semi-truck crash site.  (Photo by Brandon Edington)

Every day TSA Officer Brandon Edington makes his early morning commute 60-miles from his rural Alabama home in Muscle Shoals, located on the banks of the Tennessee River to Huntsville International Airport (HSV). He is typically greeted with a foggy atmosphere that causes his headlights to cast an eerie reflection, adding to the already challenging commute.

One morning at about 2 a.m. Edington came upon an overturned 18-wheeler lying on its side, jacked knifed across both lanes of the road and blocking traffic.

“Honestly, I was a bit shaken up at first,” remembered Edington. “I couldn’t see what was in the middle of the road initially.”

Early morning tractor/trailer crash site where driver was seriously injured. (Photo by Brandon Edington)
Early morning tractor/trailer crash site where driver was seriously injured. (Photo by Brandon Edington)

Slamming on his brakes, Brandon jumped out of his vehicle and ran to the crash site, trying to locate the driver of the crumpled trailer. Instinctively, he dialed 911 as he ran toward the wreck.

“Panic set in once I realized that the driver was still in the truck,” said Edington. “I was praying the driver would be OK.”

Realizing the driver was still alive, Edington saw the driver’s injuries were serious and needed immediate medical attention.

As other drivers gathered around the crushed cab, the group realized they couldn’t free the victim; he was pinned against the steering wheel.

“I called out to him and asked ‘are you hurt anywhere? can you hear me?’” said a concerned Edington. “When he didn’t respond I realized he was unconscious so I stayed with him until the emergency services arrived.”

Once the first-responders arrived and freed the driver from the wreckage, they told Edington that because of the injuries sustained by the driver, they were going to have medevac him and fly him to a trauma care facility.

Edington remained at the scene and gave his statement to the police. Later, he was advised that the truck driver had survived because of his quick action calling emergency services for help.

HSV TSA Officer Brandon Edington (Photo courtesy Brandon Edington)
HSV TSA Officer Brandon Edington (Photo courtesy Brandon Edington)

“It doesn’t surprise me that Brandon would do all he could to help the driver,” said fellow HSV TSA Officer Tishieka Wheeler. “Brandon is always thoughtful of others and ready to lend a helping hand.”

“We in Huntsville are proud of Brandon for his dedication to helping others on and off the clock,” said HSV Supervisory TSA Officer Krystal Moore. “Brandon’s care for people and commitment to his community makes him a valuable asset to our organization and to the flying public.”

Editor’s note: Alabama AFSD-G Samuel Bucy recognized Brandon with an Alabama State challenge coin for his actions when he came upon an 18-wheeler that had wrecked during bad weather while on his way to work on Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

By Wayne Carey, Strategic Communications & Public Affairs