Woman searching for off-duty EMT who saved her life 34 years ago

The woman said the man saved her from bleeding out after a fatal 1986 vehicle crash


By Laura French

SEDALIA, Mo. — A woman who was injured in a fatal vehicle crash in 1986 is searching for the off-duty EMT who saved her life.

Billie Jean Massey, who is now a retired federal law enforcement officer, was 15 when a head-on collision killed a woman and injured five others on Oct. 5, 1986, including Massey and her 25-year-old sister, who was driving, the Sedalia Democrat reported. The crash took place on U.S. Route 65 near Warsaw, Missouri, in Benton County.

Massey, who would have been known by her maiden name Bender at the time, said a man who she was told was an off-duty EMT, held her up after she became stuck in the dashboard. He has been traveling north in the vehicle behind them with his son.

“They had the knowledge to know where to hold my neck because I was bleeding to death,” Massey said. “And, they obviously got cut up themselves, but they saved my life.”

The Warsaw Fire Department soon responded and extricated her from the vehicle, Massey said. She was not wearing a seatbelt during the crash and although she did not go through the windshield, she sustained head injuries, multiple broken bones and paralysis on her left side. She also went into a coma and stayed in the hospital until December 19 of that year.

She said she was offered the opportunity to meet the man after she recovered, but decided not to at the time. She said she was inspired to seek him out when she began to attend church last year, after the death of her husband, and refers to the man who saved her as “God’s grace.”

“Thank you for stopping to help us all; please let me meet God’s grace, for I would have bled out if not for you,” Massey said.

Anyone who has information about the person who assisted Massey after the crash is asked to contact Sedalia Democrat Reporter Faith Bemiss at 660-530-0289.

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