Showing that he's still a first responder at heart, mayoral candidate and former Toledo Fire Chief Mike Bell happened on an accident scene earlier this week and pulled a 47-year-old woman from her overturned car.
Carolyn Lucas, of West Toledo, said Thursday that she was frightened and yelling for help when Mr. Bell lifted her out bodily.
"His arm came through the window and he said, 'I have you, I have you, I have you.' I said thank God," Mrs. Lucas recalled yesterday from her job as a billing specialist for HCR ManorCare Inc. in downtown Toledo.
"He said, 'I'm going to pull you up out of your car, I just want you to calm down," Mrs. Lucas said.
Mr. Bell, 54, who is also the state fire marshal, confirmed the account.
He said he was on his way out of Toledo to Reynoldsburg, O., where the state fire marshal's office is when he happened on the accident, before police and firefighters arrived.
He said Mrs. Lucas' life did not appear to be in danger, but she was uncomfortable and anxious.
"I think she probably had more anxiety going just from the standpoint that she was a little bit upside down," he said. "I thought that I needed to get her out."
Mr. Bell said he climbed up onto the driver's side and hoisted Mrs. Lucas through the window, while others on the scene helped get her to the ground. He said his reaction was "natural."
"I think any firefighter would have done that," Mr. Bell said. He also believes his rivals for mayor would have done the same thing.
"I'm quite sure they would. They just haven't had the opportunity," he said.
Mr. Bell announced his candidacy for mayor as a political independent last week, and has submitted his resignation as state fire marshal effective April 10.
Mrs. Lucas, who lives on Elmer Drive, said she was southbound on Secor Road at 7:10 a.m., having just dropped off her eighth-grade son, Johnathan at Apostolic Christian Academy. A vehicle driven by Allan Hagemann, 19, of Grand Rapids, heading in the opposite direction, turned into her path at Kenwood Boulevard, striking her sport-utility vehicle on the driver's side, according to a police report.
The impact pushed the car onto its side, and she was left hanging from her seat belt. Mr. Hagemann was treated at the scene.
She said she became scared when she saw what she believed was smoke, and worked her seatbelt buckle loose at the encouragement of other people on the scene.
"I started saying please somebody help me, get me out," she said.
Mrs. Lucas is nursing bruises from where the seatbelt held her body from falling to the passenger side of the van.
"When I got into the ambulance the one lady that was taking my vitals said, 'Do you realize who pulled you of out of your car?' I said, "Yes, well I got first-class service," Mrs. Lucas said.
She said she was already planning to vote for Mr. Bell for mayor, and there's no question now.
"He loves this city, does what he has to and he's the type that when he sees something that needs to be done he jumps in there and does it," Mrs. Lucas said.
Contact Tom Troy at:email@example.com or 419-724-6058.