In search of a hero: Officers fear man who pulled two from burning vehicle may be injured
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Dec. 15, 2004 -- Who was that guy?

That's what emergency officials and law enforcement have been wondering since Sunday: Who was the man that was largely responsible for rescuing two people from their burning vehicle, and believed to have attempted to free another man trapped in another Sunday afternoon following a head-on collision on State Highway 11 east.

State Trooper II Brian Worley with Texas Department of Public Safety in Sulphur Springs is asking for the man or anyone with information as to the man's identity to call him. He stressed he only wants to speak to the brave person to find out more about his role in the vehicle rescue, and more importantly out of concern for the man's well-being, as it is thought he may have been injured during the rescue.

"We just want to acknowledge him for his heroic deed, his bravery, and especially to check on him and make sure he's OK," Worley said. "If he would contact me or someone who knows him so I'll know he's all right, that'd help."

Worley said he had talked to the other men involved in the rescue and their subsequent actions immediately following the accident, but has been unable to find anyone who knew who the first man on the scene was or how to reach him.

The other responders indicated to Worley that the Hispanic man may also have suffered burns on his arms while helping Judith Story Stiles and her 20-year-old son, Regen Stiles, out of their vehicle that was partially engulfed in flames, and attempting to get Efrain B. Gonzalez out of his burning truck.

Gonzalez died at the scene while Stiles and Regen were hospitalized for burns and some minor to moderate bruising and scrapes from the wreck. Regen also sustained a broken limb.

Worley and first responders, as well as other motorists who stopped to assist, said they have no doubt that the unknown man saved the lives of Judith and Regen Stiles. However, at least one indicated that the man appeared to have been burned by the fire also, which makes officials concerned for his health.

Following the accident, officials checked with local hospitals to see if any one had been admitted for burns or similar injuries, but none of the local health services departments had records of treating or seeing anyone fitting that description. Officials are concerned that the if he was injured he may not have received the proper medical care, and want to make sure that he does.

Anyone with information about the rescuer is asked to call Worley at the Sulphur Springs DPS office at 903-885-5765.

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