Injured driver and his rescuer meet after horrific I-84 wreck

Injured driver and his rescuer meet after horrific I-84 wreck »Play Video
Kelly Holdiman, left, meets with Jorge Hernandez on Tuesday at Legacy Medical Center whom he helped pull from a totaled car on Interstate 84 the day before.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The horrific chain-reaction crash that shut down part of Interstate 84 on Monday has led to a happy reunion between an injured driver and the man who helped pull him from the wreckage.

Kelly Holdiman had been trying since the crash to track down Jorge Hernandez, who was injured in the crash. Holdiman helped pull Hernandez out his mangled car to safety.

"You're OK, man, I had to see you one more time," Holdiman told Hernandez at his hospital bedside at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center on Tuesday.

Hernandez suffered scrapes and two broken ribs from the crash.

Holdiman watched as Hernandez's car was hit once, then twice, and then saw it slammed sideways into the back of an SUV.

He ran toward Hernandez's smashed car. The doors were jammed.

"We both reached up. We ripped it open," Holdiman said. "And he tried to come out, and I was like, 'No, don't come out now. I need you to stay right there!'"

"I was like, 'I can't breathe.' I told them, 'I can't breathe,'" Hernandez said. "I have never felt this type of pain ever in my life."

They managed to pull him out. Hernandez said his survival was nothing short of a miracle.

"I think the Lord Jesus saved me, you know?" he said.

And with the help from Holdiman, a former volunteer firefighter and his simple, straightforward way of living.

"When I see someone in need, I go," he said.

Hernandez said he kept thinking about his wife and was worried she might hear of the crash before she heard he was OK.

Holdiman's wife and stepsons were with him. He just hopes he's setting a good example for the youngsters.

Both Holdiman and Hernandez say everyone was lucky, because a fully loaded semi-truck managed to stop just short of hitting all those stopped cars.

In all, police said about 25 cars were involved in about five nearly simultaneous wrecks on the freeway. All westbound lanes of I-84 were closed for about 90 minutes. In addition to Hernandez, two other people were injured. All are expected to be OK.

We helped the two reconnect after Holdiman got a hold of us. If there's something you want us to know, email us at newstips@katu.com.