Passers-by saved teen from fiery crash
Kristin Thomakos of Snydersville and Christopher Thompsett of Saylorsburg were honored for saving Briana Lutz from a burning car. STACI L. GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Two good Samaritans were honored Tuesday evening during the Chestnuthill Township supervisors meeting for their bravery and quick thinking that saved a teen’s life.
“I was on my way to work in Stroudsburg. I was on a back road. Then I don’t remember much — not the flames, being pulled out, or how my clothes got torn,” said 18-year-old Brianna Lutz of Brodheadsville.
She may not recall the grisly details of that Saturday, Dec. 8, commute to work around 3 p.m., but it’s a day Kristin Thomakos of Snydersville and Christopher Thompsett of Saylorsburg will never forget.
“Two real-life heroes saved a young lady’s life that day,” Don Zipp III, chief of West End Fire Company, told the supervisors and meeting attendees.
The fire department, state Sen. Mario Scavello and state Reps. Jack Rader and Rosemary Brown recognized Thomakos and Thompsett with certificates.
“I am very grateful. They should be honored. They saved my life,” Lutz said.
Her car hit a tree on Greenview Road near Pegasus Airport. Thomakos was the first one to render help.
As she approached the car, Thomakos said she heard “a faint voice saying, ‘Get me out. Get me out.’ ”
“I guess all my adrenaline ran because I pulled off the steering wheel,” she said.
With the steering wheel out of the way and lying by the car, Thomakos got Lutz out just before it was fully in flames.
“It was a scary time. I made a U-turn in someone’s yard to go back,” Thompsett said.
As a delivery driver for Big Cheese Pizza, he was on the clock but something inside told him to return to the crash. He and Thomakos lifted Lutz away from the car.
“We kept talking to her and asking questions to keep her conscious while we waited for the fire department,” said Thompsett.
Lonnie Perry, who was lieutenant of West End Fire Company at the time, was the first firefighter on scene.
“I saw the car and wanted to make sure no one was in it. I saw her on the side of the road,” he said.
Lutz was flown to the hospital. She had no idea she was there until the next day.
“I woke up Sunday morning after surgery on my leg and with a tube down my throat,” she said. “I got out of the hospital within a week and was housebound for a while.”
Lutz injured her spleen and ribs, had an enlarged heart, blood clot and gash on her thigh. She had a severed right ankle, which requires physical therapy and wearing a boot.
“I was so worried about her. I called the hospital to check on her,” Thomakos said.
She says it was her “mommy strength at play and the thought of her (Lutz) being burnt” that allowed her to pull the steering wheel off with ease.
“I hope someone would do the same for my kid, if God forbid, something like it occurs,” Thomakos said.
She has a 3-year-old daughter named Celeste, whose birthday is later this month.
Patricia Lutz and Donna Zeller, Brianna’s mother and aunt, respectively, attended Tuesday’s meeting.
“You cannot put into words how it feels to hear that someone stopped and ran toward the fire without thinking,” said Patricia Lutz. “It made me feel good that all these people stopped to help a stranger.”
In the weeks after the crash, many called to check on her daughter.
Thomakos and Thompsett did not know each other before that day. Since then, they have become friends and have some mutual friends.
“I thought of them as my guardian angels. I didn’t know who helped me. I was very out of it,” said Lutz.
She is a senior at Pleasant Valley and returned to school in January. She has not yet returned to her hostess job at Momento Pizzeria and Restaurant but has lunch with her work friends often.