Justine Miller watched from the audience Wednesday night, balanced on crutches, two legs encased in splints from the knees down, as the man who saved her from a burning wreck was honored by selectmen and the public.
“You don’t have to look very far for heroes,” said Miller’s father Paul, adding his 18-year-old daughter would not be ready to start her term at the University of Vermont next week had Patrolman (and former Oliver Ames teacher) Charles Turcotte been on hand to aid her when her car ended up in an accident in August.
“We are all very thankful,” he said.
In the short ceremony, Chief Brian Clark noted the August 9 accident left Miller’s car extensively damaged. Turcotte was the first on the scene.
“He lifted the victim through the driver’s side window, and averted tragedy,” Clark said.
Miller was trapped in the vehicle, and could not get out. Moments after Turcotte lifted her out of the car, it burst into flames.
Clark said Turcotte had been on the Norton force for seven years, and was formerly a teacher at Oliver Ames high school.
Selectman Robert Kimball said the town was fortunate to have Turcotte on the scene so soon after the accident, and noted he happened to be in the area at the time of the crash. “This was above and beyond the call of duty,“ he said.
To read more about the rescue,