Local contractor a hero after accident


A local contractor’s drive to work shifts into overdrive after he watches an accident unfold right in front of his own vehicle.

By trade, Joe Shewczyk is a local contractor, but on Friday morning he stepped into hero mode to help a family in need.

“We were on our way to work like any normal day really.”

A normal Friday morning quickly switched gears while Joe and an employee were driving along alternate Route 7 in Latham.

“We saw the van rear end the tractor-trailer and then she went across the three lanes of traffic and then hit the guardrail.

His employee parked their work van sideways right under the Boght Road overpass, blocking off traffic. Joe saw smoke coming from minivan’s engine, so he grabbed his fire extinguisher and put out the flames.

While several people including a nurse were tending to the driver, he saw one man trying to open the door to the minivan.

“I said, hey buddy is there anyone in this vehicle? He said, yeah there’s a small child in there who has cerebral palsy.

That’s when the local contractor, who is also a Marine Corps veteran sprung into action, busting through a side window.

“I instantly dove into the vehicle and I picked myself up off the floor and I said, ‘Hi, how are you?’ And I said it calmly too because I knew she was pretty devastated.

With smoke filling up inside, Joe was running out of time.

“I kicked the door three times and nothing happened.”

He says he managed to move the driver’s seat back and squeeze the girl through a small opening in the door.

“Scooped her up and fed her feet first and out the door.”

The little girl and the driver were transported to the hospital.

He says he feels like he was in the right place at the right time. 

“I know the Lord sent me. It was fate that I put a fire extinguisher in my vehicle the day before. So, I was just doing the Lord’s work. It was a miracle.”

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