JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The plumber who grabbed his ladder to get a man out of the St. Johns River Monday after a crash is speaking out.
The images are seared in Jerry Williams' mind. He was just a couple cars back when he saw the crash on the Buckman Bridge. "I saw smoke and sparks. I saw the SUV hit the wall and the guy come out," said Williams.
Williams is a plumber. He was busy with work and couldn't talk with us on camera but says when he saw that man thrown in the river Monday, he knew he had to help. "I jumped out of the truck and grabbed a ladder and dropped it down in the water and held it so the guy could climb out," said Williams.
Williams says it was a scary moment for him, but he didn't think twice about helping. "Your instinct just takes over."
He then watched the man he helped rescue, run to help his girlfriend. Amanda Webber is thankful for that. It was her daughter, Victoria. "I got a call from a stranger on the Buckman, saying her daughter had been in a horrible accident," said Webber.
Webber didn't know what to think, but she got in her car and headed to Buckman. "My first initial thought was this is a joke, please don't do this," said Webber.
While it's been a tough 24 hours with surgeries and lots of prayers, she's glad a complete stranger stopped to help her family. Williams doesn't consider himself a hero. He's just glad he was there. "I hope the family is doing well and I'm glad they're all together tonight," said Williams.
Meanwhile, citations for the accident involving Victoria and her son were issued Tuesday afternoon. According to the FHP investigation, Christopher Ryan Wilkinson, 33, of Jacksonville was cited for improper lane change which started the series of accidents. The driver of the second vehicle, Mary Elizabeth Glessner, 23, of Jacksonville, was charged with careless driving for overreacting and colliding with the third vehicle.
The driver of the third vehicle was not cited, but they sustained the most serious injuries. Driver Veronica Francis Butler, 46, of Jacksonville suffered serious injuries and was listed in critical condition Tuesday afternoon at Shands Jacksonville. Her son, Ean Matthew Francis was thrown from the vehicle and into the St. Johns River, but suffered only minor injuries after witnesses stopped and helped pull him to safety. He and Victoria Webber are the parents of Conner who was home recovering until his mother is released from the hospital. Victoria was listed in stable condition at Orange Park Medical Tuesday afternoon.