KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — Kosciusko County Government officials honored two men today for their potentially “lifesaving” actions this month at a fiery four-vehicle crash.
Tyler Rothhaar and Chriss Willavize were honored this morning at the Kosciusko County Commissioner’s meeting for their quick response on March 11, after witnessing a multiple vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S. 30 and SR 13.
Rothhaar had been sitting in his vehicle in the passing lane stopped for a red traffic light at the intersection, when suddenly a semi-tractor/trailer slammed into the passenger vehicle, also stopped, that was directly beside him. Willavize had been at a gas station, located directly across from Rothhaar when the initial impact occurred.
The impacted vehicle was propelled into the side of a gasoline tanker semi-tractor/trailer, and subsequently ricocheted into the trailer of the semi-tractor that had previously struck it. Upon impact, the passenger car caught fire, with two visible individuals inside.
Rothhaar and Willavize immediately ran to the vehicle that was on fire, and pulled the driver and passenger away from the burning vehicle. Firemen and paramedics arrived within minutes to begin treatment on the victims, Jeremy and Crista Noland, of Columbus, Ohio.
The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, Kosciusko County Commissioners, Pierceton Fire Department, Lutheran Kosciusko E.M.S. and Grace College officials praised the efforts of Tyler Rothhaar and Chriss Willavize for their acts of bravery and selflessness for instantly going “above and beyond the call of duty” to rescue the two Noland family members. Rothhaar and Willavize were also presented with a framed certificate commemorating their actions.