Tulsan Injured In Colorado Rescued By Oklahoma's Own

Tuesday, October 2nd 2012, 10:40 pm
By: Craig Day

A Tulsa man is lucky to be alive after running off a sleet-covered road in the Colorado Rockies. Turns out several other Oklahomans happened to be traveling by on that same snowy night and came to his rescue.

Bill Gillingham is battered, bruised, and sore. His family calls him a 71-year-old adventurer, and his latest trip to see three National Parks in Colorado was quite an adventure. 

"I could have died right there," said accident victim Bill Gillingham.

A sudden storm high in the mountains quickly covered the highway in sleet. Gillingham ran off the road, finally resting his car precariously against a tree. 

"Lots of ice, all of a sudden, hadn't had ice on the whole trip," he said. "I was in a world of hurt, I tell ya. A big predicament."

That's when fellow Oklahomans Howard and Linda Steidley from Claremore happened to be traveling along that same Colorado highway.

"Just happened to catch his tracks out of the corner of my eye. disappear over the edge," Howard Steidley said.

While Linda stayed on the road hoping to flag down more help, Howard climbed down to Gillingham's overturned car.  

"It's was still good to go down the mountain, and it was not real stable," Howard said.

While Howard cut the seat belt with his knife, Linda stopped the next car that came along, which just so happened to be two couples from Weatherford, Oklahoma. 

"I was glad to see the next car, what caught my eye mostly was the OU tag on the front of it, and they stopped right away; it was great," Linda said. 

"Six people in a row, who helped me, were Oklahomans," said Bill Gillingham. "That's great."

Gillingham could have been stuck in the car, hurting, dehydrated and coping with the cold for hours, maybe even days. 

"You don't want to be dangling too long in your seat belt, on the side of a mountain in 40 degree temperatures and falling," he said.

Gillingham is so thankful. That fact that an Oklahoma couple stopped to find him, and that two other couples from Oklahoma happened along, he calls it an Oklahoma miracle. 

"It was a wonderful God-incident with an Oklahoma flavor," said accident victim Bill Gillingham.