Drivers come to stranger’s rescue after bus crashes into propane tank


A man in McDonald County had a seizure as he was driving south on US-71. He hit a 30,000 gallon propane tank and became trapped in his vehicle that had caught fire. He’s been taken to a Springfield hospital, but it could have been much worse.

“‘Angel, I just drove past Dale — his bus is on fire, hit the propane tank just past 90 Highway,'” explained Angel Duncan, the sister of Dale Williams.

Duncan got a call Monday morning saying her brother was trapped in his vehicle, and it was on fire. Williams hit a 30,000 gallon propane tank at Ozark Mountain Propane Company in Jane.

Duncan’s husband, Christopher got to the accident and found two other people trying to get Dale out– Ed Kitterman and Chad Smith.

“Chris told me he loved me and that Dale wasn’t out, that he had him half-out of the bus, and then he hollered Dale’s name — ‘Do you know him?’ He said yes,” Duncan added.

Thats when Noel resident, Bill Elliott drove by, he was on his way to rogers to help with storm cleanup.

“I pulled up and asked if anyone else was in there and they said we got somebody trapped in there so I told them some people over there by the road, I told them help me unload.”

Elliott had his skid steer and bucket on a trailer and started unloading it.

“They finally got the window knocked out, they couldn’t get the guy out because they are reaching up like this trying to pull him out, so I told them to get in the bucket and I raised them up so they can pull him up and out then,” said Elliott.

While they were helping Williams, emergency personnel started putting out the fire and worked to get the bus off the propane tank.

“Fire was just continuing because of the propane coming out of the tank until they were able to seal it up, so we had to keep the tanks cool because there is another 30,000 gallon one sitting right beside it,” explained McDonald County Sheriff Michael Hall.

“That could have gone up at any minute,” Duncan added. “All of those men put their lives on the line immediately without a thought to save a stranger.”

But, Duncan is thankful that didn’t stop any of the men from helping.

“There’s no amount of words you can express to them to tell them what that means,” Duncan continued. “They’re heroes, everyone of them, every last one of them. Everything that they did yesterday affected not just my brother’s life, but my entire family’s life. I just want to thank them again and again — I just want to thank them.”

“I just want the family to know they are in our thoughts and prayers and hopefully, he will make a full and swift recovery,” said Elliott.

According to family members, Williams is in a medically-induced coma at Mercy Hospital in Springfield and will be okay.

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