ALBION, Ind. (WANE) The Noble County Sheriff’s Department says had it not been for three hunters and a nearby neighbor, there’s a good chance Patricia Lytal, 79, wouldn’t be alive. The group helped Lytal’s brother pull her out of a burning car Sunday, minutes before police arrived.
The hunters returned to the crash scene Tuesday with NewsChannel 15, along with Lytal’s brother, Don Heingartner. According to him, she is in the hospital with neck fractures, broken ribs and injuries to her clavicle and sternum.
Jon Edwards, Jeff Dull and John Metzger set up for the day around 8:45 a.m., inside the property of the former Augusta Hills Golf Course. It was one of several of their locations they use.
“We just decided to hunt here, we’ve got other places and this was just the luck of the draw for the day,” said Edwards.
Just 15 minutes later, they heard a loud bang, however, they didn’t think much of it, at first. Edwards decided to make his way over to check it out.
“At the time, we didn’t know what it was. So, we stayed in the blind and then, when we saw more smoke up here, that was when curiosity got the better of us as well,” Dull said.
Dull and Metzger followed their friend, cutting across the field and spotting the car, which was on fire when they arrived.
“I was the one that called 911 and that was one of the questions they asked, was there anybody in the car and i had to ask because I didn’t know and then her brother said she was in the car, trapped in the car,” Dull said.
Patricia Lytal of California had been following her brother’s vehicle on County Road 330 North, west of the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion. The sun was in her eyes when she missed the curve and her car rolled onto its side.
As the car began to burn, the friends helped Lytal’s brother, Heingartner and neighbor Larry McCullough rescue her.
“They tried yanking the windshield out by hand and couldn’t get it. So, then we tried to go through the trunk, coudn’t get through the trunk, so we decided to try and flip it over,” Edwards said.
“The door popped open. She kind of flew out into John’s arms,” Dull said.
“I asked her if anything hurt because we were concerned about moving her, but we knew we had to move her,” Metzger said.
By the time police arrived, her car was fully engulfed.
“We’ve done some thing we probably shouldn’t talk about on air but you know, I’m sure this will be talked about for a long time yea for sure,” said Dull.
The Noble County Sheriff’s Department is currently working on a recognition presentation for the men. Still, they don’t understand the attention.
“We’re out here in rural Noble County, I would think anybody in Noble County would stop and do that. I don’t see what’s all the big deal,” said Metzger.
“We’re a small community. We’re here to help people out. That’s what we do,” Dull said.