First Responders honored for saving Trooper Russell's life

Trooper Lowell Russell (Courtesy: THP)
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Athens, Tenn. (WVLT) - The two McMinn County paramedics, Freddie "Fred" Leslie and Kristi Graham, were honored for their quick response in saving the Trooper's life.

They received tokes of recognition from the American Medical Response President. They're two of twenty-five to receive this honor in the past three years.

"I ain't gone lie I thought that Sgt. Russell would be deceased," said Fred Leslie.

Leslie and his partner, Kristi Graham, were the first on scene.

"When we came up on it, Sgt. Russell's patrol car, there were a lot of heavy flames in the patrol - it was pretty massive," said Leslie.

They saw the crash unfold, Russell's car started spinning, smashed into a median and caught fire.

"You don't want your family member to go through that, you know burn up in the car," said Graham.

They were headed back to McMinn County, they were only there by chance.

"I would have done it for anybody, I will do it again for anybody, doesn't matter who it was or where it was it's just something that you do," said Graham.

But being a hero comes with a price, Fred's family worries every time he goes off to work.

"I received a call about 3:30 that morning, I was scared not knowing what happened, and his partner called," said Fred's wife, Jessica Leslie.

Graham called to tell her, Fred was injured and taken to the hospital. He put his life on the line to save someone else's.

"It'll be worth it when Sgt. Russell leaves the hospital, that's when it'll be worthwhile," said Leslie.

Trooper Russell was slumped over and unconscious in the vehicle. If not for timing and their help, this story might had a much more tragic ending.

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