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How Zach Byrd survived the crash

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"He was praying, he was praying and I knew right then, I had a strong man there," Dunkel said.

"He was still praying and he said 'goodbye daddy, see you later," Dunkel said. 


Man Who Rescued Dennis Byrd's Son After Crash Says He's Not A Hero

Posted: Oct 17, 2016 7:13 PM EDT Updated: Oct 17, 2016 7:44 PM EDT
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A Good Samaritan pulled Dennis Byrd's son out of their crashed vehicle moments before it burst into flames.

Byrd died in that crash after a 17-year-old driver crossed the center line and hit Byrd's vehicle head-on Saturday morning in Rogers County.

That Good Samaritan came upon the crash scene just moments after it happened and raced over to Byrd's Hummer and pulled Zach Byrd out right before it burst into flames.

"When I walked up, I saw the grass on fire under the car, so yeah, I was worried," said Dan Dunkel. "If I can't find this in the next few seconds, I have a pocketknife, I'll cut the thing off. I'll get him out of here."

Dan Dunkel, his wife and two grandsons had just left a football game when they came upon the wreck. 

10/15/2016 Related Story: Former Jets Player Dennis Byrd Dies After Highway 88 Crash

He saw a boy struggling to free himself. Dan said finding the seatbelt button was tough to reach because of all the mangled metal.

"He was praying, he was praying and I knew right then, I had a strong man there," Dunkel said. 

Dunkel raced back to the car to try to rescue the man in the driver's seat. He couldn't find a pulse. He and others tried prying open the door with pieces of metal, but, couldn't budge it and the fire was in the engine and inside, making it impossible.

"The smoke was bad. The flames were bad, so we backed off."

Dunkel and another man moved Zach away from the burning car and the boy said something that Dunkel said broke his heart.

"He was still praying and he said 'goodbye daddy, see you later," Dunkel said. 

Dunkel stayed until Zach was in the ambulance and didn't learn until later it was Dennis Byrd and his son in the wreck.

It makes him want to hug his own family members.

"I've been thinking about what I need to say to them when I see them in person, about driving and how to drive," Dunkel said.

Dunkel said he's not a hero. He said he believes had it not been him, it would've been someone else who pulled Zach out of that vehicle because he believes in his heart, God wanted Zach to survive.

And Byrd's former team, the New York Jets, will be honoring his memory when they play the Arizona Cardinals.

The team uploaded a picture which shows the team attaching Byrd's number 90 to their helmets.

The post says, “Something extra on our helmets tonight. #RIPDennisByrd.”


Something extra on our helmets tonight. #RIPDennisByrd

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