Community Rushes to Rescue Trapped Strangers After Church Van Overturns

Photo credit Justin Willis

By Kayla Jardine/Joe Cingrana

When these people were in need, their community came running! 

Members of a local Kentucky church were on their way to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, when tragedy struck. In transit, their church van was hit by another car, sending the vehicle and those inside tumbling across the road. 

Within seconds, the men and women of Louisville stopped their morning commute to rush to their aid with many helping to hold the van steady to ensure that those still left inside weren’t pinned down until firefighters were able to rescue them.

The heroic actions from complete strangers weren’t lost on Justin Willis, who was at the scene at the time of the crash and also captured the incredible images. 

He told that, "Part of the magic was that so many people pitched in without any reservations or debate."

"This is a community that I work in," says Justin. "It has no grocery and too many liquor stores. Most of the media coverage on it comes in the form of short reports about violence after dark. It is an impoverished community with above average crime and many challenges related to health, education, and opportunity. It has lots of public housing as well as rehab and transitional centers. The people who rushed to the aid of others were residents in the neighborhood and people at work or headed to work in the area. It was a fast-paced and intense scene."

After this experience, these strangers truly are a community.