Illinois state troopers meet with couple after saving their lives

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WAYNE COUNTY, Ill. – Two Illinois state troopers met with a couple they saved last week following an accident involving a box truck.

Dramatic dashcam video showed a box truck driver lost control on icy roads Tuesday of last week.

The truck came with inches of killing four people, including 67-year-old Peggy Vaught.

“Thank God I’m alive and they’re alive,” she said.

Vaught’s 71-year-old husband, Bud, also survived.

“(The troopers) definitely saved our lives,” he said.

Illinois State Troopers Adam Zimmerman and Jonathan Pflaum were helping the couple change a tire when the box truck came sliding towards them.

“To say I wasn’t frightened, it would be a lie, obviously,” said Trooper Pflaum.

The troopers fell back to their training.

“You’re always watching your back, you’re always keeping your head on a swivel, and then we’re trained to make a decision in a split second,” Trooper Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman threw Peggy Vaught into a ditch. The truck slid right over her. She was covered with dirt and she suffered a broken wrist but she knows it could have been worse.

“I could have been scraped up off the highway,” she said.

Trooper Pflaum was on just his ninth day on the job when the crash occurred. In the moments immediately after the crash, he wondered if he’d picked the right profession.

“That was really, really close; maybe I should be a farmer or something,” he said.

The couple could not be more grateful the troopers were there.

“I think they’re great. If they ever give me a ticket, I’m just going to smile at them,” Bud Vaught said.

This life and death moment is a reminder for all drivers to move over and slow down when emergency crews are on the shoulder.

“We’re not just troopers. There’s a whole family at home wanting us to come home every day,” Trooper Zimmerman said.

The troopers’ efforts will likely be submitted for an award from the Illinois State Police. Zimmerman and Pflaum said they don’t want the recognition; they’re not heroes, they were just doing their jobs.

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