San Diego

Local Marine Awarded for Saving Life of Truck Driver Trapped in Wreck

A local U.S. Marine credited with saving the life of a delivery driver trapped in his wrecked semi-truck was honored Friday for his heroic efforts.

Staff Sgt. Hai Vuong was driving down Interstate 15 between Nipton and Barstow with his brother-in-law Simon Almeida last November when they saw two big rigs collide causing one to overturn.

Staff Sgt. Vuong immediately pulled over and he and Almeida ran over to assist the driver in the toppled truck.


The two noticed that the truck was leaking gasoline and other fluid so they quickly kicked in the windshield and turned off the still-running engine, then pulled the driver to safety.

"I just happened to be there at the right time and the right place," Vuong said. "So I don't even associate myself with a hero. It's part of my job and part of what I do. I would help anybody."

Vuong credited his Marine Corps training for helping him handle the pressure of the moment and keeping those around him calm.

"Marine Corps training did come in handy in this situation," Vuong said. "I remembered my training to be calm, cool and collected so others around me would not go into a frenzy. I had to ensure that when I extracted the driver from the truck's cabin to be careful and not cause additional bodily harm."

Emergency responders eventually made it to the scene and treated the driver who ended up OK.

Vuong, an imagery analyst with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, was presented with an award Friday at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar from the United Postal Service, the driver's employer.

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