Man rescued from burning car just home from war

Published 12:17 am Wednesday, July 24, 2013

“He really is a guardian angel,” said the aunt of the man pulled from a burning car by a Red Level resident last week.

Thalmus Lewis of Ft. Riley, Kansas, was visiting family and friends in the area when the wreck occurred on July 18, said Gwen Crittenden Tuesday.

“He had just come home from Afghanistan and had been home for three weeks,” Crittenden said of Lewis. “He was staying with his mother in Georgiana and was out visiting.”

Lewis was found inside his 2013 Chevrolet Impala just after 10 p.m. that night. Larry Pittman told The Star-News last week that he found an unconscious Lewis behind the wheel of the burning car on Lloyd Mill Road at the curve that had already claimed one life.

Lewis’ was nearly the second, all agreed. Pittman said before he didn’t believe himself to be a hero; however, Lewis’ family disagreed.

“(Lewis) is doing really good,” Crittenden said. “He had two fractured hips and a fracture at the C1 and C2 (of the spine). He was transferred to UAB and underwent surgery (Tuesday).

“Doctors expect him to make a full recovery, but I tell you, Mr. Pittman was his guardian angel,” she said. “If you had seen that car, you would known that was nothing but God putting (Pittman) there to save my nephew.”

It is believed that Lewis was traveling too fast and lost control when he attempted to navigate the curve.