Family seeks man who helped pull accident victims from burning vehicle

An Immokalee woman whose family members were rescued from a burning truck would like to find the hero who helped them after the deadly crash.

“On Nov. 22, 2017 my family of five had a horrible accident,” said Yvonne Rodriguez. “My cousin Edwardo Rodriguez and a white man helped my family exit the burning truck.”
This week she contacted the newspaper for help in finding the family’s unnamed hero.

“I wanted to see if you can help me find that special man who helped rescue my family so we can thank him for his heroic gesture,” she explained.

Three people were killed in the accident just before 6 a.m. on the foggy morning of Nov. 22, on State Road 29 in rural Glades County, about halfway between LaBelle and Palmdale.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol report, a 2007 Ford Expedition and a 1999 International 4700 truck collided.

The Ford Expedition was headed south on State Road 29 north of Chaparral Avenue. The International truck was headed north on State Road 29 north of Chaparral Avenue at the same time as the Expedition. The Ford crossed into the northbound travel lane, hitting the International truck head-on. Both vehicles skidded around to the northwest and caught on fire.

Manuel Rodriguez, 31, was the operator of the 1999 International truck and was killed. Louis Angel Pena, 22, of Sebring, was the operator of the 2007 Ford Expedition, and was killed.

The Ford Expedition came to a final rest facing northwest on the west shoulder of State Road 29. The International truck came to a final rest facing northwest on the west shoulder of State Road 29, south of the Ford Expedition. It was reported that Manuel Rodriguez had been trapped inside his vehicle and died at the scene. A passenger in the truck, J. Nicholas Rodriguez, 71, also died, and passengers Gloria Rodriguez, 62, Jeanette Alvarado, 29, and Alfredo Rodriguez, 41, were injured.

Another family member, Eddie Rodriguez, who was driving a pickup truck behind the International truck, saw the accident and helped pull three family members out of the burning vehicle, with the help of a good Samaritan who has not yet been identified.

If you can help identify this man, please contact the Immokalee Bulletin at or 239-657-6000.

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