LUBBOCK, Texas — There were three off-duty first responders eating breakfast together at Tech Café on Saturday morning when a truck crashed into the restaurant.
Lubbock Firefighter Jason Lester, Plainview Firefighter Seth Stephens and registered nurse Steven Smallwood immediately took action when the truck crashed into the restaurant just ten feet away from them.
“It’s hard to describe, you hear it before you see it,” said Lester. “It was a loud crash. And then we looked over. And it was like slow motion as the truck was driving came through the wall and into the building.”
The first responders said the whole situation felt surreal.
“When it happened, the only people I noticed was me and the two firemen that I was there eating with because we three acted and headed towards the vehicle and tried to get everything cleared out so we can see what happened,” said Smallwood.
As soon as the first responder realized what had happened, they all sprung into action.
“We went over to that area. And immediately, I mean, just trying to figure out what there was, where the people were, who was hurt, who wasn’t,” said Stephens.
They said EMS arrived within minutes, but during that time they did as much as they could to clear the area and provide first aid care to the victims.
“I didn’t ever really think about what to do. I guess it was just kind of second nature that I mean, we immediately just tried to help where we could,” said Stephens.
However, the first responders weren’t the only ones who helped out.
“Everybody’s referenced us as heroes or whatever, you know, and I want to be 100% honest with you, there was 20 other people in that restaurant at the same time that we were, and everybody in there is our heroes to me in my personal opinion,” said Lester.
Two people were killed and four were injured in the crash, but first responders said given the situation and how all the bystanders came together – everyone who stepped up is a hero.