Department of Highways, District 10
Magoffin County Department of Highways crew’s quick action credited with saving motorist’s life

Press Release Date:  Monday, December 21, 2009  
Contact Information:  H. B. Elkins
Public Information Officer
Department of Highways, District 10
473 Highway 15 South, P.O. Box 621
Jackson, KY 41339

JACKSON, KY. – Quick action by an employee of the Kentucky Department of Highways Magoffin County maintenance garage is being credited with saving the life of a motorist involved in a traffic crash Saturday night.


Chris McCarty dove into the cold, rushing water of Burning Fork Creek off KY 1888 east of Salyersville, near the Magoffin County state highway maintenance garage, to rescue Kermit Howes. Howes’ pickup truck ran off the road and overturned in the creek around 8 p.m. Saturday. He was ejected from the vehicle and was found unconscious, floating down the creek.


Employees at the state highway garage, who were getting ready to salt and plow roads and remove trees in the aftermath of the weekend’s winter storm, heard the crash and located the spot where the driver ran off the road.


“Chris didn’t hesitate, he jumped right in and pulled the guy out of the water,” said Paul Bailey, superintendent II at the Magoffin County garage. “Chris saw him floating in the water and dived off the bank. He definitely saved his life.”


Once McCarty got Howes to the side of the stream, two other crew members – Matthew Bailey and Stanley Howard -- helped get him to the top of the bank, along with the help of a private citizen. Kentucky State Police and members of Magoffin County’s rescue squad responded to the scene, and Howes was taken to an area hospital with head injuries.


“Our employees at our garages work long hours during winter weather events to keep the roads safe for motorists, so we already know how important they are and how many sacrifices they make for the public’s benefit,” said Mark A. Westfall, chief district engineer for Highway District 10, which includes Magoffin County. “These are extraordinary individuals, and the heroic actions of Chris McCarty just serve to reinforce that point. He took action to save someone’s life without regard for his own safety, which is the classic definition of a hero. We salute him for his heroic deed. Matthew Bailey and Stanley Howard also were a vital part of this rescue operation, and they are to be commended as well. These three workers are fine representatives of our staff, and we are proud of them along with all our other employees who go ‘above and beyond’ on behalf of Kentucky motorists.”





Chris McCarty