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Semi driver dies despite heroic attempt to save his life by Good Samaritan

A semi fire has closed southbound I-65 near the Whiteland Exit. Detour at the exit to U.S. 31. Chopper 13 HD is headed to the scene to bring you the latest on WTHR Sunrise.

A semi driver died after his vehicle crashed Wednesday morning along I-65 south near Franklin shortly after 6:00 am, despite the best efforts of another driver who saw the crash.

A Good Samaritan pulled the injured driver, 52-year-old Tryone McKenney of Quinby, South Carolina, out of the fiery wreckage, but McKenney died just a short time later from his injuries at a hospital. 

That Good Samaritan, Bryan Corns from Lowell, Indiana, is also a truck driver. Corns was heading to Nashville, Indiana with his own delivery, when he saw the crash and told Eyewitness News he knew he had to do something to help the driver.

"It was like I had one focus at the time," said Corns, who made a split second decision with another man's life hanging in the balance.

"I thought, 'what the hell am I going to do? What am I going to do? I gotta do something,'" said Corns of what he was thinking when he ran up to the burning wreckage, after McKenney's semi went off the road, right in front of Corns who was driving behind him.

"I knew that there was somebody in there, you know," said Corns.

"All I had was my mag light with me because it was dark and finally figured out exactly where he was in all this mangled up mess," Corns explained.

"I started trying to assess how the hell I'm going to get him out of this mess," he added, saying that all the while, the fire was getting closer to where he and McKenney were.

"It's only going to get worse this fire thing, you know, if this guy don't get out of there," said Corns of the life and death situation he was facing.

"The only way he was going to come out of it, was down through the bottom part of the door and when he came out, he came out head first, upside down," explained Corns.

"I was able to grab him any way I could grab him and drag him up the ditch and bank," explained Corns.

"He told me, 'I can't breathe laying on my back,'" Corns recalled.

"He kept rolling from one side to the other side trying to breathe.  I knew he was hurt pretty bad," he added.

"I kept telling him, 'The ambulance is on the way.  The ambulance is on the way,'" Corns said he told the man he had just rescued, never learning his name.

"He told me he was the only passenger and that he had a dog and when he told me he had the dog, I turned around and I looked back and said, 'Man, there's no way,'" Corns remembered telling the man.

Clean-up crews, sifting through the wreckage later, found the small dog, scared and covered in the liquid protein McKenney was hauling, but otherwise, okay.

Despite Corns' brave efforts, McKenney died later at the hospital.

"I didn't know what else I could do," said Corns who said he'd do it again and hopes someone would do the same for anyone he loves.

"Wouldn't anybody do that?" asked Corns. "I'd like to think anybody would do that."

Corns got emotional when asked if the crash and McKenney's death made him more grateful to see his own family later tonight and perhaps hug them a little closer.

"Absolutely," said Corns. "Absolutely," he said again.

The crash closed I-65 southbound for over 90 minutes, and it was still causing traffic slow-downs in the area at noon due to emergency equipment on the shoulder. It was back open by 2:15 pm.

The semi was hauling liquid protein in large plastic containers, there were no hazardous materials on board.