Unsung Hero: Jimmy Wells

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By Ashley Smith
By Josue

WILLIAMSON COUNTY -- A racecar driver is hailed a hero after saving another driver's life.

"I mean, it was completely engulfed in flames. Only thing I could think was, 'I've gotta get him out of the car, I've gotta get him out of the car!'" said Jimmy Wells.

"I was just concentrating on getting belts off and those kind of things to get out, and I could hear them trying to do things and knew somebody pulled me out, but I wasn't sure who it was at that time," explained Mike Hudson.

Mike Hudson and Jimmy Wells spend a lot of time at the Southern Illinois Raceway racing microsprint racecars.

Between the two of them, they have 27 years of experience. A couple of weeks ago, a freak accident caused Mike's car to catch on fire during a race.

"As I got closer to him the flames were actually coming out of the roll cage, and I decided right then to start unbuckling, that he was going to need some help," remembered Jimmy.

Jimmy was racing behind Mike when he quickly got out of his own car to help Mike escape the flames.

"I could hear Mike saying, 'I can't breathe! I can't breathe!' and that's when I guess I kicked it into high gear," said Jimmy.

"Fortunately, a guy like Jimmy knows where belts are and knows as a racer how everything unhooks and that helps a lot," said Mike.

Kurt Hermann was in the center of the track announcing the race when the accident happened. He says firefighters and emergency personnel were on the scene within seconds. Jimmy was right behind them.

"[Jimmy] almost parted the firefighters. And at that point I think they had unbuckled Mike, but he wasn't able to get out, and Jimmy grabbed him and pulled him out onto the ground where our EMTs could get to him," said Hermann.

Mike was lucky enough to escape the accident with only a couple of minor burns and didn't even miss a race!

He didn't waste time thanking all of those who helped keep him safe.

"I thank Jimmy, I mean he's a friend but he's also a fellow racer and I think any of us would do the same thing. But hey, you still have to jump in there and do it."

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