By Jim Misunas
ELLSWORTH COUNTY — A second Good Samaritan has been identified in the rescue of a Colorado youngster from a fatality accident in Ellsworth County.
Jonah Turner, 9, survived the crash and was removed from the vehicle by Good Samaritans identified as Ellsworth’s Mike Homeier and Topeka’s Sean Petersen, a native of Lincoln who was visiting his girlfriend and parents.
Ellsworth’s Shawn Lantz-Hellebust said Petersen was driving on an access road next to I-70 when he witnessed the accident and drove by to lend assistance. By the time, Homeier and Petersen quickly sized up the situation, the smoke from the accident had changed into a fire.
“They knew it was bad,” she said. “Sean saw someone’s back and he was breathing,” she said. “Sean was the one who made the decision to get the boy after he saw him.”
Lantz-Hellebust said Homeier and Petersen broke out windows in the Escalade and worked together to pull Jonah Turner from the burning vehicle.
She considers Homeier and Petersen to be heroes.
“I believe there was a reason why Sean traveling to see his parents at that moment,” she said. “They were not sure they would’ve rescued him without two people.”
Homeier was working at a nearby property when he heard the noise from the accident. He crossed four lanes of traffic and jumped a fence to provide assistance.
Jonah Turner was transported to Salina Regional Health Center in critical condition and later moved to a Wichita hospital, according to the highway patrol.
The grandparents and grandchildren killed in Tuesday's Ellsworth County accident were residents of Aurora, Colo., according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Gardner said a license tag from Colorado tied the family to Colorado, where Aurora police officers were able to identify the family by visiting with neighbors.
The Highway Patrol reports the accident victims were grandparents Kevin Dorrell, 54; and Debra Dorrell, 51; and their grandchildren — Justin Turner, 15; and Joe Turner, 11. Gardner was told by a great grandmother who resides in California that the Dorrells were legal guardians of the grandchildren.
The Highway Patrol reported a black 2003 Cadillac Escalade operated by Kevin Dorrell drove into the back of a broken-down semi-tractor trailer near mile marker 220 on I-70. Gardner said the semi driver was properly displaying his orange hazard triangles to indicate a disabled vehicle that was parked safely off the roadway.
The truck driver, Girmay-Girmay Alemayehu, 48, Dallas, Texas, had his 2004 Freightliner break down on the interstate. Alemayehu was not injured in the accident.