Jerry Windham is blessed to be alive thanks to the efforts of Carroll County’s first responders after he became trapped between his truck and his pasture fence on the morning of April 1.
Windham, 86, said he was checking on his cows during the morning of April 1. He said he’d been out in his pasture since 9 a.m., and the incident took place shortly after that. Windham said when he was opening the gate, cows were behind it, and he was trying to make sure they didn’t escape. At the same time, his truck – that he thought was in park – began rolling towards him.
“Those heifers were right behind me, and I had fasten the gate and I was walking west and the truck was rolling toward me. Not very fast at first, but it may have picked up speed going downhill. It hit me, and I fell north,” Windham said.
He said the driver door and the gate were both still open and they “caught together,” stopping the truck. Luckily, Windham was able to get to his phone to call for help.
However, his call kept dropping.
“I don’t know how long I was under that truck. I was under there for a period of time,” Windham said. He said he believes it was about two hours, and it was the same amount of time that he spent trying to get his call to go through.
“It kept giving me the same message. ‘Please check your call and try again.’ 911 calls are to go nowhere but to 911,” Windham said.
However, his call would not go through. Carroll County’s E911 system can ping a caller that may be trying to contact them but can’t get through. It was with this system they were able to call Windham back.
“They finally called me,” he said. “It was quite terrifying. I had to get my mind together for a few minutes, and I as I was trying to think, I was talking to God. But, it was quite terrifying. I thought I’d be there forever. I didn’t want to call my wife, but she came,” he said.
He said when his wife attempted to move the truck, he realized that the way he fell, he was twisted underneath.
“My right leg was under the truck, my left knee was against the bar to get in the truck and my hip was tilted up against the gate. I told her to get down,” he said.
Windham said his neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Nail, came over as a Carroll County sheriff’s deputy arrived at the scene.
Chief Deputy Adam Eubanks was the first person to respond to the scene. Eubanks, who was off that day, said he heard the call when it came through. He didn’t immediately catch it, but after listening closer, he realized that he was the closest person and sprang into action.
Windham was at the back on the property, and Eubanks said he had to drive through two or three gates just to get to him. He said when he got to Windham, Windham’s wife and several of his neighbors were out trying to free him.
“Mr. Wayne Nail told him ‘Get that truck off that boy,’ He’s older than me, ya know,” Windham said laughing. “But, I realized that I was in a bind.”
Eubanks said he saw that the truck had backed over Windham’s foot and leg, and the gate was bent down on his hip.
“I made sure the truck was in park, and I got a fence post out of the back of his truck and began trying to pry it from his hip,” he said.
Windham said Eubanks and Nail tried to move the fence, and by that time, Windham said two to three more deputies arrived on the scene and they were able to move the fence and get him from under it.
Eubanks said Deputies Banks Tucker, Hunter Davis, along with several of Windham’s neighbors had made it to the scene. Eubanks said they were able to take hold of the gate while he eased the truck off of Windham.
“We put him in the back of my truck and took him to the front of his property,” Eubanks said.
He said two MedStat ambulances were on the scene and were able to transport Windham to the hospital.
Windham commended the response of the 911 dispatcher, Carroll County Sheriff’s Department, and the paramedics.
“I have no complaints with 911. They did a wonderful job. They had a quick response. I have no complaints on our Supervisors. I believe Mr. [Jim] Neill and Mr. [Rickie] Corley are some of the finest men we got, and I suspect the others are too. I have no complaints with anyone in Carroll County,” he said.
Windham said paramedics took him to Greenwood-Leflore Hospital, and miraculously he had no broken bones or broken skin.
“I had an impression on me where the truck had been on me a long time. The doctor said it was going to become a big blister, and I may get an internal infection. They were worried about swelling and blood clots. And, I had to wear those stupid stockings. But, I tried my best,” he said.
He said that he wasn’t in much pain when it happened, but overtime it got worse. So much so, he had to go to the emergency room, where he learned he had developed an internal infection.
“I had to take antibiotics, and I just finished them Sunday night, so I’m doing better,” he said.
He said it he was very pleased with the response time of Carroll County, once they were able to call him and send him help.
“We’ve got some of the finest people out there. They were so wonderful. I want to thank the 911 people, the sheriff’s department, the board of supervisors, the county roadmen, Mr. Joe Holman and all my wonderful neighbors,” he said, after apologizing for getting emotional.
He said he was thankful for their quick response to help him.
He does have one complaint and it’s about his cell phone service, and Windham said he’s even gone as far as to call Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley’s office with his complaint.
Even with communication problems, the situation proved that word can travel fast and good people are always around when you need them.
“There were plenty of medical folks and people on hand to help get him out of trouble. Which is really good when you live in a rural county like we’ve got,” Eubanks said.
He said that it shows that even though Carroll County is so spread out, the residents have a love for their neighbors that is unmatched.
“That’s why we like living in a county where neighbors look after one another,” Eubanks said. “If it hadn’t been for his wife and the other neighbors that came out, there’s no telling how long he would’ve been under that truck.”
Windham said right now, he hasn’t been doing as much as he did before the accident happened. He’s improving daily, he’s even back driving. But, he’s taking his time.
“I got up and moved around on my legs and feet a little bit and it felt so wonderful,” he said.
Windham said at the ripe age of 86, he thinks he’s finally ready to retire and he’s working out the terms to do so.
“It was quite a trauma there,” he said.
He said that he hopes with his story getting out, something, if anything, could be done to help the cellular phone service issues in Carroll County.