Left to right: Colton Childs, James Powell, Danny James, Braden Hardesty and Terry Swingle

State Route 78 in McConnelsville is hilly and curvy – especially when it’s dusted with snow, as it was on January 15. Line mechanics Colton Childs, Terry Swingle, Danny James, James Powell and Braden Hardesty know to drive it cautiously and safely.

They were returning to the McConnelsville service center that afternoon having completed a nearby job. Childs and Hardesty, driving the lead line truck, were about to enter a blind curve on State Route 78 when they were flagged down by someone standing on the side of the road.

Slowing their vehicle, the two men saw a car in a nearby ditch that was flipped on its side.

Childs stopped the truck and ignited road flares while Hardesty approached the car.

A 75-year-old woman was trapped inside. The line mechanics assessed the scene and, with careful effort, were able to remove her through the car’s back hatch.

It was cold outside, and Childs and Hardesty (who was relying on his previous training as an emergency medical technician) helped her up the hill and into the warmth of a truck until first responders could arrive.

A team of AEP Ohio line mechanics responded quickly and safely when they were flagged down by a motorist because of this overturned car along State Route 78.

Meanwhile, the other crew members had called 911 and were safely flagging passing vehicles to alert them of the crash.

The result was a happy one: The woman was shaken up but OK.

“I am so proud of these guys,” said Billy Watts, supervisor – distribution system in McConnelsville. “They care about everybody who lives here. They stop to change flat tires. They lend a hand when people need it. They are always willing to help.”

“They’re passionate about keeping the lights on but really they’re just good-hearted people,” he said. “And they work hard. I’m glad we can share their story.”

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