Crash victim reunites with Orange County first responders who saved him four years later

Doug Haney gives plaques to fire rescue reading ‘Hometown Hero’

A crash victim reunited with Orange County first responders to thank them for saving his life almost four years ago.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A crash victim reunited with Orange County first responders to thank them for saving his life almost four years ago.

Doug Haney read a letter he wrote to thank the first responders who were there on August 2, 2016.

"I never knew if I could make this day a reality or not," Haney said.

On that day, Haney said he was driving a bus on South John Young Parkway near Central Central Florida Parkway. He said a car ran a red light and slammed into the bus, sending it and an SUV into a big rig.

"I can remember him coming up and contacting the bus and I remember looking up and seeing the diesel truck in front of me," Haney said.

Haney was trapped between the bus and the semi. Orange County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Garrett Wienckowski said fire crews rushed to the scene to save him and six others injured in the crash.

"I don't think I've ever been on a double under ride like that. I remember a lot of our calls, but this one particularly sticks out because it was one of the most difficult ones that I have ever done," Wienckowski said.

Fire crews worked quickly to save the victims. OCFR said it took them 30 minutes to get Haney out. His injures at the time were described as critical.

Haney was airlifted to the hospital. He said he was there for 16 months and had 13 surgeries.

He's partially paralyzed in both legs. Haney said he knows this could have been worse if not for the men and women who saved him.

"If it weren't for each and every one of them putting in the part that they did, it wouldn't have worked," Haney said. "One minute more and maybe I wouldn't have made it to the hospital on time."

Haney reunited with first responders on Wednesday to thank them for their actions. He also gifted them with plaques that read "Hometown Hero."

"It's such a healing thing for me. I didn't think I'd be able to do it," Haney said.

Trey Augenblick is a flight nurse paramedic for Orlando Health and responded to Haney’s crash. He said he is glad to see Haney alive and doing well almost four years later.

"To come back and see your patient years later, months later, just come back and see your patient, it's truly a humbling experience," Augenblick said.

Wienckowski said the reunion with Haney is the best gift they could receive.

“We encounter so many bad things all the time that when you have something like this that is so positive and a success story comes up, you want to hold on to that,” Wienckowski said.

About the Author:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!