“I’m glad he was with me, otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” Dane said from his home in Holly, where the 17-year-old is recuperating.
The accident happened as the Holly High School students were coming home from playing basketball one morning last week.
“I hit a slick spot, and the next thing I know my car goes completely sideways,” Dane said.
He attempted to correct the vehicle, but lost control and crashed into a tree.
“I kind of passed out,” Dane said.
Dillon, 15, was reading a magazine in the passenger seat.
“I didn’t know what was happening,” he said. “I didn’t see it coming.”
Dillon gathered himself and had to kick his door open to get out.
“I looked to my left, and he was knocked out and he was bleeding,” Dillon said. “I thought he was dead at first.”
Fire began kicking up from the vehicle as Dillon set about pulling his brother, who had awakened and began screaming in pain from his wounds.
“Flames were coming over the windshield, and the whole inside of the car was filled with smoke,” Dillon said.
Unable to find the cell phone, Dillon was able to free his brother by tearing out the passenger-side console to get him out of the car.
The boys said they lost their shoes in the accident, and Dillon was forced to carry his brother for a half-mile barefoot. A passing salt truck driver spotted the bloody teens and picked them up.
Dane was in surgery for two hours, getting 30 stitches to his shoulder and 19 to his face. He won’t be playing basketball anytime soon, but should be back at school after the holiday season.
The tow truck driver who hauled the car away mentioned it took more than 1,000 gallons of water to get the fire under control, said the boys’ mother, Danna Gardner.
The car is just a shell now, and Dillon has been a little tired from all the attention he’s been getting, she said.
Danna, however, is at no loss for words when it comes to describing the bravery her boys showed.
“I’m so very proud of them both,” she said. “They were so concerned about the stuff in the car, and I don’t care what was in the car. That stuff can be replaced.”
— From The Oakland Press