Longview Trucker Saves Life Of Fellow Trucker - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/20/05-Longview

Longview Trucker Saves Life Of Fellow Trucker

A Longview truck driver is being hailed as a hero, after he saves the life of a stranger. Work brought two truck drivers together, 34-year-old Michael Pennywell and 23-year-old Jared Norman. Pennywell was loading crude oil at East Texas crude near Marshall Friday morning when he was overcome by chemical gas.

"I smelled something that smelled like rotten eggs. I made one step and I fell. I couldn't get up and move.  I blacked out.   I couldn't see anything," Pennywell says. When  Norman arrived to offload crude, he found oil gushing from Pennywells truck and him laying on the ground, and rushed to help him, taking a respirator he had in his truck and putting it on him.

"I thought he had a heart attack or was diabetic or dead. I went and shut his truck valve off.  I put a mask on him and helped him start breathing," Norman says.

Staying with Pennywell the whole time until paramedics arrived and suffering effects from the lingering gas himself, Norman says he wouldn't have done anything else.

"I couldn't have sat over there and wait for the ambulance to come, with him laying there dying.  I was right there and he would have done the same thing for me," says Norman.

Pennywell was hospitalized in critical condition from exposure to poisonous gases but was released Saturday, and Norman is suffering from after effects as well. But the brush with death has given both men a connection they'll never lose.

"I owe him my life.   I'd do the same for him. I won't never forget him either," says Pennywell.

Both men are still suffering health problems from exposure to the fumes and are scheduled for more medical treatment. The cause is believed to be "H-2-S" gas, which can occur in crude oil transfers , and can be deadly.

Bob Hallmark reporting.

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