HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Two Hancock County firemen involved in an accident on I-10 are counting their blessings. The two were responding to a wreck in the rain Monday when their truck ended up on its side.
Josh Bell and Cayce Seal were rushing to the accident scene when a car cut in front of them, and a split decision had to be made.
"If we would have stayed in the lane we were in, we could have went into the back of the car, sending him into an 18-wheeler causing a fatality," explained firefighter Cayce Seal.
"The first thing that went through my mind was just brace; it was just instinctual," fireman Josh Bell recalled. "I didn't panic. I didn't do anything. I used my left hand to grab the steering wheel as tight as I could and my right hand to grab my passenger. He [Seal] grabbed the frame and grabbed me and we just held on as tight as we could, but in the second it took, it felt like days."
Bell knew from his driver training that swerving off the roadway could flip the 35,000 pound truck, but he said he did it to save lives.
"It was either the two of us, or the dozens of vehicles and families. There would have been serious damage that day," said Bell.
And although he said he knows he made the right decision, there is still a sense guilt.
"As much as I feel I made the better choice, I still put myself and a fellow firefighter, a brother, in danger. And there is a feeling of, 'What if?' All the worse case scenarios run through your head at that point," explained Bell.
Both men know they are lucky to be alive.
"We shouldn't even be standing here right now on our own two feet the way we are. We're a little sore and banged up. It should have been a lot worse, but we definitely had someone upstairs watching over us."
The firefighters said accidents like the one they were in Monday could be avoided if drivers would pay attention to lights and sirens and yield to emergency vehicles responding to calls.