Firefighters, volunteers repair well destroyed in crash

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 12, 2013

Laura Brown is grateful to a group of Liberty Firemen and volunteers whose selfless act gave her drinking water after a single vehicle collision wiped out her well.
On Dec. 30, 26-year-old Derrick Hagerman, of Squirrel Run, was involved in an early morning crash on St. Matthews Church Road near Stokes Ferry Road. He ran off the road, struck two cedar trees and careened into Brown’s well. He was ejected from the vehicle.
His hand was amputated in the collision and he was airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Liberty Fire Department responded to the scene and after realizing Brown wouldn’t be able to get someone to repair her well, they decided to do it themselves.
“I was truly blessed to have friends and neighbors that were willing to give of their time to help me. I was blessed to be here when the accident happened to help him,” she said of Hagerman.
Brown, who was formerly in law enforcement, believes God was looking out for Hagerman despite his serious injury.
“The good Lord brings people together for a reason. I was home at the time (of the wreck). He wasn’t laying by himself. I’m glad to have been able to be there,” she said.
Brown said she’s spoken with Hagerman’s family who have said he is doing well. Attempts to reach the Hagermans was unsuccessful.
Liberty Assistant Fire Chief Scott Hill, who responded to the collision that day, was at the local ball field where the helicopter landed to take Hagerman to the hospital. Hill also recalled another accident his department responded to in 2009 that left Hagerman paralyzed. In February 2009, Hagerman was thrown against a tree when his all-terrain vehicle flipped. He broke his back.
Hill, whose known Brown for a number of years collaborated with other firefighters, Rowan Sheriff’s deputies and others to repair Brown’s well. Brown is disabled and didn’t know how she’d pay for the repairs.
She told Hill following the crash she was just going to ask neighbors for water so she could take a bath and wash some clothes. But Hill knew more could be done.
“I could understand her situation. I said Laura, ‘by the end of the day you’re going to have running water,’ ” Hill said.
The collision occurred early Saturday and Hill returned Sunday afternoon with deputy Lunda Eller, her son Bobby Clement, Richard Elium, Eric Eller, Justin Campbell, Matt Brock, and Hill’s wife, Miranda.
Elium is an electrician and Eric Eller has installed and repaired wells in the past. The men were able to find parts to fit Brown’s well.
“He had parts and Richard had enough parts. Everything from the ground up, we installed new for her,” Hill said.
The group began working just after 1 p.m. and four hours later, Brown had running water.
“Everything came together,” said Liberty Fire Chief Darrin Trexler.
He said it shows a community willing to help a neighbor in need.
“They just did what they had to do,” he said.
She just believes everything was a blessing.
“It helped reaffirm for me there’s good people in this world. I was just tickled to death and very grateful. I don’t know what I would’ve done,” Brown said.
Brown said this is the fifth or sixth accident where a car ran off the road and landed in her yard. She’s glad Hagerman survived and is on the mend, she said.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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