On I-35 near Purcell June 3, 2016, Spencer firefighter Jacob Graves and his soon-to-be wife were headed to their wedding rehearsal, when they came upon a bad crash.
“We’d topped the hill just after it had happened, I guess,” he explained. “Just something kicked me in the gut and said, ‘You need to go over there and see if there is anything that you can do.’”
He pulled over and crossed four lanes of traffic to get to it. The driver of the black car had already died. And Jacob went to help the family in the white SUV.
“It felt like a bomb went off, literally. We all really had no idea what happened and really had no idea if we were alive or dead, frankly,” Austin, TX native, Barney Sinclair said.
Graves got Barney and two of his kids out and saw 5-year-old Charley still in the back seat.
“I could tell immediately that she was in very serious condition,” Graves said.
Graves performed CPR on Charley until more help arrived.
After months in the ICU and multiple surgeries, she's continuing to improve, learning to walk and talk again.
“It’s really a miracle,” Barney said. “He really had a huge impact. He literally saved my daughter, Charley’s life.”
“I was just doing something that I would hope someone would do for me and my family,” Graves told News 9.
Jacob made it to his wedding rehearsal, but took a break to call and check on Charley’s condition.
After making contact with the Sinclairs in what was an emotional phone call, Graves continues to get updates from them all the time. They plan to meet in person this summer.
Graves will receive the ‘Firefighter of the Year Award’ in a ceremony June 7th for his efforts to help the victims.