A Winston-Salem State football player is credited for rescuing a teenager from a burning vehicle following a fatal two-vehicle wreck in Vaughan, N. C., over the weekend.
The wreck happened at about 9:30 p.m. Friday after Zachary Rodwell, 17, of 242 Bobbitt Road in Littleton, was driving westbound when he crossed the center line and hit Brandon Lee, 23, of 3012 U.S. Highway 158 East in Littleton, who was traveling eastbound, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said.
Rodwell’s vehicle overturned and caught fire. Authorities could not get him out of the burning vehicle in time, the highway patrol said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lee was taken to a hospital where he later died.
Rodwell’s brother, Benjamin, 13, who was in the vehicle with him, was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. His condition was not immediately known.
It was then that WSSU running back Kenneth Sharpe, who was driving to Harrellsville with his girlfriend, saw the nasty wreck and jumped into action.
“So I automatically put the vehicle in park and I told my girlfriend to go ahead and get in the driver’s seat,” he told WRAL.
Sharpe saw Benjamin Rodwell trying to escape the burning vehicle.
“He was about four feet from the fire,” he said. “And I got to him. I was about a good five or six (feet). And I told him ‘Hey crawl to me, crawl to me.’ I grabbed him. I pulled him on my shoulder and I automatically started taking him to the car.”
Whitaker drove to Halifax Regional Medical Center in Roanoke Rapids while Sharpe kept the teenager awake. There were severe injuries to the lower half of Rodwell’s body, Sharpe said.
State troopers and Rodwell’s family described Sharpe as a hero.
“If that was anybody I would, you know, do it,” he said. “Because if that was me in that predicament I would want somebody to do the same thing.”