Boy saves his grandpa from burning car

August 29, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

Marshall Coffey's grandson, Ryan Coffey, helped save his life Sunday.

The 12-year-old is so modest about it that he wouldn't answer questions or have his picture taken. His mother, Lisa Coffey, said that is just his way.

"I told him, 'You're an inspiration, you saved your grandfather,' but he just doesn't want to talk about it," she said.

Marshall Coffey, however, wasn't shy about his appreciation.

"He's great, he's always been my buddy anyway," he said. "He sticks with me."

Ryan Coffey had gone to spend the weekend with his grandfather in Russell Springs and the two were returning to Danville in a 1955 Ford Victoria.


Marshall Coffey spent three years restoring the car and had planned to give it to Ryan when he gets his driver's license. Ryan plays noseguard for Boyle County Middle School, and the two had just mounted a license plate on the car with Ryan's jersey number, 30.

As they waited to turn left onto Taylor Road from Ky. 34, a woman in an Infinity sport utility vehicle, struck them from behind. The car's gas tank exploded and Marshall Coffey swerved to miss a horse trailer and hit the guard rail. A burnt patch of grass marks the spot there.

According to his mother's account, Ryan Coffey unjammed his door and pulled his grandfather out across the seat. Marshall Coffey uses crutches and said he wouldn't have been able to get out on his own.

Boyle County volunteer firefighters arrived at the scene soon after and helped Marshall Coffey to safety, then put out the fire.

What's left looks like a crushed soda can. The cherry red paint job burnt off. The wheels melted to the rims, and the chrome bumper crumpled.

"I'm just grateful to be alive," Marshall Coffey said. "They'll be other cars."

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