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‘Good Samaritans,’ Trinity County attorney rescue driver, baby from overturned vehicle

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 2:49 PM CDT
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TRINITY COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - A Trinity County attorney and other “good Samaritans” passing by helped rescue a driver and baby from a flipped car earlier this week.

Trinity County Attorney Colton Hay is used to preparing for cases. However, on his way home Tuesday evening, he dealt with a different type of situation. He said he noticed a car passing him at a high rate of speed in a no-pass zone in the middle of a rainstorm.

“That was the last I saw them until a minute or two later, and I looked to my left and there was an overturned car in the ditch,” he said. “It was a rough wreck. He hit a tree and flipped over.”

Hay said he immediately called Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace.

“The car was upside down in water so anytime you’re in the water, no matter how high it is, you can drown,” Wallace said.

While first responders were en route, Hay and several others who witnessed the crash got out to help and found more than just the driver on board.

“We started seeing where he was at,” Hay recalled. “He said there was a baby in the car. We knew we had to do something.”

Hay said they found whatever they could in their own vehicles to get them out.

“I just happened to have a sledgehammer back there because I have a cattle trailer that you have to hit the hitch a little bit for it to lock in there,” Hay said. “We got to work.”

Hay said they all tried to bust the windows to get the baby out, and he was the first to get inside.

“I get down on my hands and knees and crawl through this window,” Hay said. “The busted glass. The little girl is crying. She’s in a car seat but the car seat was not hooked up to the actual vehicle seat. I looked her over. Kind of held her like a football and shimmed out the back.”

Hay said the little girl is doing okay, but seeing her hit close to home.

“I just had a child myself,” Hay said. “When you hold a baby, it kind of reminds you of your baby. You don’t ever want your child to be in a position like that or any child to be in a position like that little girl was.”

“It says a lot of somebody who will jump into something like that,” Wallace said. “That tells me the people here care about people.”

“Those people whose names didn’t come up, they helped just as much as me,” Hay said. “The community coming together. Law enforcement does this kind of stuff every day. Just remember that next time you see an officer.”

The driver of the vehicle, James Gambrell Junior was arrested at the scene for driving with a suspended license with previous convictions. He has bonded out of jail. Previous records from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice show he was released after a charge of accident involving serious bodily injury or death.

For Tuesday’s incident, Sheriff Wallace said based on statements from Gambrell and witnesses, additional charges like endangerment of a child, which is a felony, are pending.

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