Two Gaston men find closure meeting with those who saved their l - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Two Gaston men find closure meeting with those who saved their lives

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

All John Wertz and Jeffrey Vazquez wanted was to thank those who helped them after a horrendous head-on collision in Mid-April.

After airing their story recently, the two Gaston men got their wish as they met with the people who rescued them in an emotional reunion.

"They took a big risk," Wertz said. "You know, they risked their lives for us."

Wertz and Vazquez were on their way back to their home on Highway 321 when a driver, who troopers say was driving on the wrong side of the road, barreled into their Dodge Intrepid.

Troopers said the man who caused the wreck died on the scene as his Buick went up in flames. Wertz said he and Vazquez would have burned up as well if it weren't for people like David Callahan and Lisa Hudson who stopped to help.

"All I could do was just pray for them," Hudson recalled. "I knew they were still alive. I had that gut feeling.

Hudson channeled her adrenaline and pulled Vazquez out of the burning Dodge.

"I didn't think," she said. "I just did."

Meanwhile, Wertz said Callahan fought the fire before firefighters arrived on the scene.

"There happened to be a dirt pile down in front of the car just laying there pretty and waiting for me," Callahan said. "So, I just started grabbing it and throwing it on the fire, on the car, in the two different areas that it was catching on fire."

But Callahan and Hudson weren't the only ones who helped. Wertz and Vazquez met Shane Whaler and Joseph Trzaska as part of what Wertz believes was a therapeutic moment as he and his friend face a long road to recovery.

"Being as I remember as much as I do about that night," Wertz said, "mentally, it helps bring closure."

However, it's more than just closure for them. It's the beginning of something greater.

"They're going to be a part of my family," Hudson said, "and I'm going to be around them unless they tell me no."

Wertz and Vazquez hope to meet all of the people that stopped on that fateful day to help. In fact, they hope to host a dinner for them eventually.

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