Witness recounts fiery rescue attempt of 17-year-old girl - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Witness recounts fiery rescue attempt of 17-year-old girl


Two people are hospitalized after a car crashed and caught fire, killing a 17-year-old girl.

Noonday Firefighters and DPS were called to County Road 1187, in Noonday around nine o'clock last night.

Two people were able to get out of the wreck, but 17-year-old Brytnie Stithem was trapped inside the car, while it was burning.

One of the first witnesses on the scene says he did everything he could to save Brytnie's life.

It started out as a typical night for Earl Kennedy--picking his daughter, Lacey Fulton, up from work. But just minutes from being home, they saw a young girl waving them down. Their lives were about to change forever.
"She was crying, she was screaming, you could here her screaming when we pulled up," Earl said.

The girl screaming for help was 17-year-old C.J. Wilkerson--one of three victims that were just in a car accident.

"The girl was just walking around," Earl said, "She was just hysterical."

According to witnesses, the car ran off the road hitting a tree, and then landing up behind the trees.

C.J. and the other victim, Brandon Page were outside the vehicle when the Kennedy's arrived on the scene. But, Stithem was trapped in the burning vehicle.

"The steering wheel was up against her chest real tight, and the car seat was all the way forward and there was no way I could get her out, it was terrible, it was really terrible," says Earl.

Earl didn't have time to think, he just reacted.

"I just knew, she was in there, and if I could help her get out, I was going to do it," he said.

Kennedy only had a few moments to try to save Brytnie.

"I said, 'I don't know if I can get you out, but I'll try to,' and she kept hollering, "Help me, help me.''

The fire quickly spread, and Earl knew it was too late.

"It was the most terrible thing I went through in my life, and I'm 73 years old," Earl remarked.

Family, friends, and Earl say prayer is what they need in this time of tragedy.

"I'll be in church Sunday morning, I'm of the Christian faith and I will be in Church Sunday morning," Earl says.

Brytnie Stithem was a student at Robert E. Lee high school. On Thursday, Superintendent Randy Reid said counselors will be available to help students through this time.

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