Man Who Rescued Dennis Byrd's Son After Crash Says He's Not A Hero
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma - A Good Samaritan pulled Dennis Byrd's son out of their crashed vehicle moments before it burst into flames.
Byrd died in that crash after a 17-year-old driver crossed the center line and hit Byrd's vehicle head-on Saturday morning in Rogers County, according to the OHP.
That Good Samaritan came upon the crash scene just moments after it happened and raced over to Byrd's Hummer and pulled Zach Byrd out right before it burst into flames.
"When I walked up, I saw the grass on fire under the car, so yeah, I was worried," said Dan Dunkel. "If I can't find this in the next few seconds, I have a pocketknife, I'll cut the thing off. I'll get him out of here."
Dan Dunkel, his wife and two grandsons had just left a football game when they came upon the wreck.
He saw a boy struggling to free himself. Dan said the seatbelt button was tough to reach because of all the mangled metal.
"He was praying, he was praying and I knew right then, I had a strong man there," Dunkel said.
Dunkel raced back to the car to try to rescue the man in the driver's seat. He couldn't find a pulse. He and others tried prying open the door with pieces of metal, but couldn't budge it and the fire was in the engine and inside.
"The smoke was bad. The flames were bad, so we backed off."
Dunkel and another man moved Zach away from the burning car and the boy said something that Dunkel said broke his heart.
"He was still praying and he said, 'Goodbye Daddy, see you later," Dunkel said.
Dunkel stayed until Zach was in the ambulance and didn't learn until later it was Dennis Byrd and his son in the wreck.
It makes him want to hug his own family members.
"I've been thinking about what I need to say to them when I see them in person, about driving and how to drive," Dunkel said.
Dunkel said he's not a hero. He said he believes had it not been him, it would've been someone else who pulled Zach out of that vehicle because he believes in his heart, God wanted Zach to survive.
Byrd's former team, the New York Jets, honored his memory when they played the Arizona Cardinals Monday night.
The team uploaded a picture which shows equipment managers attaching Byrd's number 90 to the team's helmets.
The post says, “Something extra on our helmets tonight. #RIPDennisByrd.”