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Jacksonville man saves truck driver from fiery crash

Corey Key rushes to help trucker climb from overturned cab

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man's heroic efforts likely saved a trucker’s life Friday afternoon after a crash on I-75 turned a semi into a fireball.

Someone snapped a photo as the drama unfolded on the highway near Tampa. The image shows Corey Key on top of the overturned tractor-trailer's cab, trying to pull the driver out.

Key was on his way back to Jacksonville from a work trip for Duval Asphalt when he witnessed the harrowing crash just before 2 p.m. Friday and jumped in to help.

He was burned in the process.

“He was trapped,” Key explained of why he climbed on top of the cab to help the driver. “He couldn’t push the door up and crawl out at the same time. It almost happened so fast. We opened the door and with the assistance of some other people, we pulled the gentleman out and pulled him away from the wreckage.”

Key was at home Monday, nursing the second-degree burns he received to his hands, arms and face as he pulled the trucker to safety. The trucker was also burned, but his injuries could have been much worse if not for the quick actions of Key and the others who came to the rescue.

“You hear it all the time about where your adrenaline takes over, but I mean, it’s true,” Key said. “Once you see somebody in the cabin of a truck, you don’t even have time to think. Just jumped into action, ran up to the truck and yelled at some other guys to give me a hand getting him out.”

By all accounts, Key is a humble guy who does not gravitate toward publicity, let alone being called a hero, but his Duval Asphalt coworkers are spreading the word about his courageous act.

“Knowing Corey and his character, I’m not at all surprised that he jumped to action the way he did,” coworker Jennifer Garrett said. “He’s really an all-around great guy. The timing, that’s amazing that he was right there, able to see the guy, see what happened and just be moved into action. That’s awesome.”

Garrett said Duval Asphalt offered Key the entire week off, but that because of his general work ethic, they expect him to probably show up by mid-week.

The crash, which was caused by a blown-out tire according to the Florida Highway Patrol, backed up traffic for miles.

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Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.