Arkansas Soldier Barely Survives Trip Through Oklahoma
TULSA, Oklahoma - Two Arkansas parents are desperately asking Oklahomans for our prayers. Their son, an army sergeant, is recovering from a horrible car crash on the Cherokee Turnpike near Locust Grove.
Sergeant Preston Horstman has served three tours in Iraq -- where he was injured twice by IED blasts. He survived those close calls, but is now in the fight of his life at a Tulsa hospital.
Preston Horstman grew up surrounded by the rivers and hills of Northwest Arkansas.
"Just a good old country boy who loves hunting and fishing," father Brian Horstman said of his son.
The 26-year-old husband, father and military sergeant is stationed in Colorado. He was driving through Oklahoma last week -- to attend his grandmother's funeral back home.
"We had asked him if he wanted to be a pallbearer. And of course, he wanted to be a pallbearer," his father said.
His parents say Sergeant Horstman drove all night to make it. Around 4 a.m. January 9th, he was about to pull over at a rest stop but fell asleep at the wheel.
His SUV rolled about four times and at some point, he was thrown from the Trailblazer.
"You see the vehicle he came out of - you would not believe he came out of there with not one broken bone," said Brian Horstman.
But he did suffer life-threatening internal injuries and could have died on the side of the turnpike -- if not for a Locust Grove couple who stopped to help.
"Covered him with a red blanket - one at his head, one at his feet," said Jody Nail, Horstman's mother. "They prayed with him until they air-evaced him out. Stayed right there with him."
Horstman's parents believe the kindness of strangers and the power of prayer saved their son's life.
Sergeant Horstman had surgery to repair an artery near his liver.
"There is that possibility of relearning how to do everything all over again - talking, walking, eating," his father said.
"They just don't know. They won't know until he becomes fully awake," said his mother.
Fortunately, an MRI shows no brain damage, and the family was relieved to see Sergeant Horstman open his big brown eyes.
"Just opening his eyes was a big relief," said Brian Horstman. "So now as things heal, we hope we're going to get more baby steps and keep walking with him."
"Just ask that you continue praying for the soldier. Keep praying for our son," said mother Jody Nail.
You heard Sgt. Horstman's parents talk about how grateful they are to the Locust Grove couple who covered their son with blankets before paramedics arrived.
They'll get to say thank you to the Good Samaritans when they meet for the first time on Saturday.