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Sweetwater man says 'guardian angels' rescued him from burning tanker

Josh Winegeart

Nearly two weeks ago, Josh Winegeart suffered an accident on I-20 in Sweetwater that he can not believe did not kill him.

In fact, Winegeart is even in disbelief over the rapid healing progress that he has made after the accident.

By looking at Winegeart, it is hard for anyone to believe that he has had reconstructive face surgery and has had a skin graft for the severe burn on his right arm.

“I count myself really lucky,” Winegeart said.

On July 26, Winegeart said that it was just like any other typical work day.

Winegeart checked his tanker truck before the sunrise and everything seemed fine for the U.S. Army veteran, who has hauled fuel for about 8 years.

“I came up on Sweetwater, I remember getting ready to pass a truck, and after I passed the truck, I don't remember anything else,” Winegeart said.

Winegeart believes that it is a higher power that is perhaps blocking out the most painful moments of his terrible accident from his memory.

Winegeart's tire suddenly blew out, causing him to lose control of his truck and jump the overpass, all while hauling 7,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

The truck's impact caused a fiery explosion that could be seen from many miles away.

Gary and Tammy Ward, complete and total strangers, jumped over the wreckage and risked their own lives to rescue Winegeart.

Everything that Winegeart has been told about that day is hard to believe, and it is as though everyone who helped to save his life had been purposely placed there.

"I don't know who they are, but I thank God for them, so he put a lot of what I called 'guardian angels' out there,” Winegeart said.

Winegeart said that people can definitely call them heroes, including three oil field workers who grabbed fire extinguishers.

Now that the father of three has been given a second chance to live, Winegeart is cherishing the smallest of things in life and is looking forward to making some more memories with his family.

It is also the most difficult moments in life that Winegeart said makes people realize who really appreciates them, the impressions that they make on other people and most importantly, make them search for a specific purpose in their lives.

“I think God has a purpose. What that purpose is, who knows? But I believe it's going to be something big," said Winegeart.

Anybody who would like to help out Josh and his family can make donations to a special bank account set up to support the family at First Financial Bank.

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