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Three local men saved a truck driver’s life by pulling him from his burning, overturned rig on Hwy. 42 around 7:30 p.m. on Monday night.

“It felt good that we were able to get him out,” said Lucas Bivens, 21, of High Falls.

Bivens was driving north on Hwy. 42 near its intersection with Charles Johnson Road after spending some time at a friend’s hunting property on Hwy. 74 when he saw a tractor trailer coming toward him. Then, said Bivens, he saw the passenger side of the rig dip, then the headlights went out. Bivens knew by the marker lights around the trailer that the truck was rolling over.

Bivens called 911 and got out to check on the driver, Larry Whitehead, 37, of Warner Robins.  Two other motorists who came upon the wreck also stopped to help. They saw diesel fuel leaking and dripping into the cab and a small fire inside.

Bivens saw the driver’s long dread locks hanging upside down in the cab and he appeared to be twitching.

“We thought he was dead,” said Bivens. But then they noticed he was “coming to”. They couldn’t open the door so the three men pulled him out through a window from the cabin. They set the driver, who had a large goose egg bruise bigger than a lemon on his head, on Biven’ truck bed while they waited for an ambulance.

And just 30 seconds after pulling the driver out, his rig exploded in flames so hot that two tires exploded as well.

“That’s all she wrote,” said Bivens. “She went up big time.”

The explosion was so loud that nearby residents called 911 to report they were evacuating their homes.

Bivens works for an elevator company in Atlanta. But he said in driving back and forth to the city every day he’s never seen anything like what he saw on Monday night. He said adrenaline took over and he was just glad to be able to help.

Whitehead told a Monroe County deputy that he overturned because a deer ran in front of him and he swerved and then overcorrected He was treated and released from Navicent Health.