By Danielle Salisbury
Jackson Citizen Patriot
Jackson, Mich. (AP) — Mike Treciak said he grabbed the front, left wheel well of a Chevrolet Venture and lifted the vehicle about 16 inches to 18 inches, allowing two panicked family members to pull a 50-year-old out from under the van.
“He was taking his last breath, I do believe,” Treciak said of the man, whose family was yelling for help. “He was in peril. He was in bad shape.”
By the time firefighters arrived about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday to the driveway, the man already had been freed, Jackson Fire Acting Capt. Bob Walkowicz said. He went to Allegiance Health, but he was conscious, alert, oriented and “extremely sore,” said Walkowicz, who believed the man would be OK.
Walkowicz did not release the man’s name, and Treciak did not know his neighbor.
The man only had lived a short time in an apartment behind what was a barber shop, said Treciak, 47, an employee of May’s Construction Co. in Jackson.
He had been working Tuesday afternoon on a fuel line and was on his back beneath the minivan, Walkowicz said. The front, left tire was off the van, and a jack propped up the van.
Walkowicz said the jack slipped and the van fell on the man’s chest.
A few houses from the van, Treciak was outside his home, where he had been working on a pickup truck. Waiting for a part delivery, he was about to go into his house when he heard the man’s son and a woman screaming. He acted on instinct and ran to assist.
The son and the woman tried mightily, but were unable to free the man, Treciak said.
The man’s breathing was becoming more labored and Treciak feared the minivan was on his neck. Its left, front brake disc and suspension were on the concrete.
As he lifted the van, it rolled backward.
“The fireman said, ‘You lifted that?’ I said, ‘I had to,’” he said.
Firefighter Craig Reppert, who was at the scene with Walkowicz, plans to nominate Treciak for a hero or life-saving award, Walkowicz said.
“The adrenaline kicks in, and we all get a little stronger than we usually are,” Walkowicz said.
Treciak minimized what he did, saying he’s been helped out of a sticky situation and others would have acted in the same way.
“It was crazy,” he said. “I am just glad I was there.”