TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — It was 3 a.m. on Wednesday when Taylorville Sheriff Deputy Andy Voorhees got the 9-1-1 call.
A truck was stopped on the railroad tracks just outside of town.
He rushed to his car to head to the scene, but it wasn’t until he got outside that he realized just how fast he needed to move.
“When I walked out the office, I heard a train horn,” Voorhees said.
Voorhees was the first to the scene. The truck was still on the tracks, with the driver passed out in the front seat.
He ran onto the tracks to try to wake the man up, but he wasn’t having much luck.
He had time for one last attempt, or else he would have to get out of the way to avoid getting in the way of the train.
“As I’m going up there when I got there, the other deputy was coming down the road. He said ’12 you got about 30 seconds we can see the train,'” Voorhees said. “At about that time I look down the rail, you can see the train coming.”
The last attempt finally worked.
The driver woke up, and in a panic hit the accelerator, moving off the track, and Voorhees cleared the tracks just as the railroad barricades dropped.
“I played back my head 1000 times you know, and I just you don’t know how fast to travel. I remember looking at the rail seeing the lights and everything lit up. Basically, I gave him two tries and if I didn’t get them on third and I was out the other way. I was it was that close you know?”
Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp woke up to a text describing the event early that morning.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Deputy Voorhees,” Kettelkamp said. “The job he did, you know, he put his own life in danger online, to take to save another person.”
Voorhees was quick to dismiss the spotlight.
“I do the job that every one of my guys at work with what I’ve done. There’s nothing I did this. I got put in position to be there first. That’s all come down to you know,” he said.
It wasn’t until after he and the driver were both safe that the gravity of the situation started to set in.
“When it all clicked, I was shaking like a leaf on a tree. The adrenaline dump happened, everything that they tell you about it’s gonna happen when you get in those certain situations.”
The driver of the truck was arrested for a suspected DUI.