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Mother thanks soldiers for heroic rescue in Thursday night crash

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 4:14 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The family of one of the teens who was in the truck that crashed in Watertown Thursday night reached out to 7 News to publicly thank the soldiers and civilians who helped the men trapped inside.

Karlee Mathieu, the mother of 18-year-old Salamon Mathieu, says he was one of the teens rescued by five Fort Drum soldiers who witnessed the crash.

She says she’s so thankful they happened to be there and were willing to help.

The five soldiers were all about to go home after dinner, but leapt into action when they saw the truck collide with a Dodge Durango and go up in flames.

In the group was SPC Jacob Jones, SPC William Berube, SPC Shane Cockerham, SPC Zachary Broxson, who happens to be a medic, and Sergeant Major Jake Smith, who has served fifteen tours in Afghanistan.

He says his experience overseas taught him to always keep a trauma pack in his vehicle.

It’s something that helped rescue the three men in the truck.

He and the four specialists were able to extinguish the truck’s flames and drag two of the occupants out before authorities arrived.

Something Salamon’s mom says she will forever be grateful for.

“I just shake my head, I’m so glad somebody was there for him. Because it could’ve been a really bad outcome. I hope I can shake their hand one day. And thank them in person,” said Karlee Mathieu.

Mathieu says Salamon and the other teen passenger of the truck are both recovering at Upstate University Hospital.

She says Salamon broke his chest bone and is bruised, battered and scraped, but he will make a full recovery thanks to the bravery of the soldiers and civilians who stepped in to help.

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