When Trevor Hanna saw a burning pickup truck in the ditch on Route 27 in Sidney Sunday afternoon, he ran to help.

The pickup truck was on its roof and inside was 8-year-old Tyler Turner, hanging upside down, confused and in pain.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but he was seat-belted in,” Hanna, 29, of Oakland, recalled Monday. “I tried to go under his arm and pull him out. I looked in the car and saw the seatbelt.”

In the driver’s seat of the 2003 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck was Tyler’s great-aunt, Sherry Turner, 53, of Jay. She was later pronounced dead at the scene.

When Hanna, a welder for Bath Iron Works, realized the boy was seat-belted in, he reached for the Leatherman he carries on his belt and uses every day. The multi-tool has scissors, pliers, a screwdriver and knife.

He used the knife to cut the boy’s seatbelt, all the while yelling for someone to bring a fire extinguisher.


“He was conscious the whole time,” Hanna said. “He didn’t know what was happening. I was telling him, ‘Don’t worry about it — we’re going to get you out.’ It was hot. It was just like standing next to a bonfire.”

John Dow, 70, of Eliot, had stopped too.

He heard Hanna hollering for help and ran down the hill. Dow hit the ground the moment he saw Tyler.

“I just crawled in as far as I could to get the kid,” Dow said. “He was stuck like an anchor in there.”

Tyler could not move his legs and was dead weight, Dow said. Someone placed a towel under the boy, and Dow, Hanna and another person carried the boy about 20 feet up a hill.

Then the pickup exploded.


The men had no choice but to pull the boy out of the burning truck, and the movement caused him to scream, Dow recalled.

“I had to get him out of there,” he said. “If we didn’t move him, he was fine, but the minute we tried to move him, the pain was unbelievable.”

He said the boy had bruises on his chest and his arm was contorted. Hanna said his left ankle and wrist appeared to be broken. People started taking off their coats and jackets to cover him, and Dow and Hanna got down on the ground beside him and talked to him.

What happened next is etched in both Dow and Hanna’s minds, they said in separate interviews early Monday evening.

“A girl took out a phone and a cartoon of Goofy was playing,” Dow said. She showed Tyler the cartoon as others comforted him.

“The boy had no idea what had happened. I just told him he had a slight accident. He was a cute little guy. I just felt so bad for him.”


Before the accident, the boy and his great aunt were on a Christmas shopping trip and were heading south when the truck crossed the center line and struck an oncoming 2014 Toyota Tundra pickup truck driven by Robert Rice, 55, of Windsor, according to state police Trooper Rick Moody.

Rice and his brother, Raymond Rice, 52, were taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. Robert was not seriously injured, but Raymond suffered a broken bone in his leg, according to Moody.

At the scene, the Tundra was in the middle of the road, its front hood and right side passenger door smashed in.

Moody said Monday police don’t know what caused Turner to cross the center line.

The boy, Tyler, was later taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland. A hospital spokesman said early Monday evening that parental consent is required for releasing the boy’s condition and that information may not be requested of the parents until Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Hanna said, he and his wife, Dawn, had also been on a Christmas shopping trip when they saw the accident just before 2 p.m.


Dow and his wife, Beverly, had been driving north on Route 27 to East Madison from their Eliot home to visit her parents when they came upon the scene. They usually take another route but on Sunday decided to take Route 27, he said.

“For some reason, we took an alternative route,” he said.

Reluctant to take any credit for what he did to help the boy, Dow said all those who helped at the scene were “very nice people.”

“Anyone would have done it,” he said of the rescue. “No one wants to see a young kid in that situation, for sure.”

Hanna said he thought about the boy and the accident all day long Monday and kept remembering more details. A lot happened in a very short period of time, he said.

“It’s just one of those things. It’s just very hard to deal with. I’m just worried about the little boy.”


Mostly, he keeps wondering what would have happened had he not had that Leatherman on his belt, as the burning truck exploded just seconds after he cut the seat belt and they got the boy out.

“It’s like a habit. I put my belt on in the morning and my Leatherman’s on it. That’s really a lifesaver.”

Trooper Randy Hall is investigating the accident, Moody said Monday. He said that after the crash, police were able to find the boy’s grandmother, who lives in Jay.

“We believe he is also from the Jay area, but we’re not 100 percent sure,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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