DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas - Three people from Dripping Springs are being called heroes for saving a man’s life by pulling him from his burning truck last month.
For Matthew Hilton, Bill Fults and Bridget Roberts, Sept. 22 was a typical Thursday night driving home on US-290 in Hays County, just east of Dripping Springs.
"I was going home from my girlfriend’s house, and I was wearing my pajamas," said Hilton.
"I was coming home from the Tony Berger Stadium in Austin. Had been watching my son’s freshman football game," said Fults.
"I was coming home from my church group," said Roberts.
But it was as they were approaching Whirlaway Drive, that they noticed something horrible was unfolding.
"The car was on fire before it left the road. There were flames coming from the left wheel well," said Fults.
"I saw him start to swerve, so I kind of slowed down," said Roberts.
The truck was headed westbound on 290 when it went off the road. It continued hundreds of feet a ditch before finally plowing into a fence. The flames were so intense they melted the rails of the fence.
"When I saw the fire I was like ‘okay, I probably need to get out’," said Hilton.
"It didn’t seem like there’d be enough time to wait for anybody," said Fults.
The three strangers pulled over and jumped into action.
"I opened the door, got him unbuckled," said Fults.
"I was grabbing his legs and [Fults] was getting up top. He was a pretty heavyset fellow, so it definitely took two of us to get out of that car," said Hilton.
"I just grabbed one of his legs, and we all walked him up the ditch, and then over the guardrail and behind someone’s car," said Roberts.
How did they pull it off? Hard to say, they told FOX 7 Austin's John Krinjak.
"Honestly, the adrenaline was pumping so much that I didn’t really second guess anything," said Roberts.
"I just had a total knee replacement in the spring, so I’m not sure I could walk up that hill right now under normal circumstances," said Fults.
"I was really just glad to know that this guy was good, and we were away from the car at that moment," said Hilton.
It turned out the driver of the truck was having a medical issue. EMS arrived and took him to the hospital, but Hays County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Hipolito says if not for these good Samaritans, the outcome would have been much different.
"These three citizens of Dripping Springs stepped up. They went above and beyond. Not everybody would do what they did," said Hipolito. "They’re heroes."
After our interview, the three received a surprise heroes’ honor.
"What you all did saved that gentleman’s life, there’s no doubt about it. So on behalf of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Gary Cutler, I want each of you to receive a certificate of appreciation," Hipolito said as he presented the awards, along with special "challenge coins."
For Hilton, Fults and Roberts, they’re not sure if "hero" is the right word.
"I don’t know if I view myself that way, I think it’s just the right thing to do to help somebody," said Fults.
"It’s a word that my family can use to tease me now," said Hilton, laughing.
Roberts tells FOX 7 she was in a bad crash last year, and people stopped to help her, so she was really just paying it forward—and Fults is a former paramedic, who says he was just following his training.
Despite their modesty, the three heroes will officially be honored by the Hays County Sheriff in a ceremony in the coming months.