Lowndes football player saves Valdosta senior from burning car
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) - A Lowndes High School football player was awarded a Hero of the Heart award Monday from the school board after springing into action last month and saving a Valdosta High School senior from a burning car.
Valdosta teen Lizzie Eldridge was on her way to work around 11 a.m. on August 29.
Before making it out of her neighborhood, she says her power steering failed. And “freaking out,” she says she pressed the gas instead of the brake, sending her vehicle into a bush, a pole and utility boxes.
“I unbuckled my seatbelt and tried to open my door, but I could not get out,” Eldridge said. “And I couldn’t go through the passenger side because it was shattered.”
Lowndes teen Brock Bailey was nearby working on a shed with a friend. The two heard the crash, ran to the scene and removed Eldridge from the vehicle just moments before it caught fire.
“It was a scary feeling. There was definitely a lot of adrenaline there, a little bit of panic. But once she was out and safe, it was a good feeling,” Bailey said. “I stayed with her and her mom the whole time trying to, you know, just tell her everything’s gonna be all right.”
Both families were present Monday when Superintendent Wes Taylor presented Bailey with a plaque, honoring his heroic act.
“I think to be recognized for the award it is it means a lot to me,” Bailey said. “It seems like everything is going downhill. But, you know, there are still positive things in this world, and I think that’s what the award really showcases.”
Bailey and Eldridge did not know each other before, but they tell WCTV the incident has taken the two from strangers to close companions.
“Like that’s not how you want to meet someone, but I’m glad,” Eldridge said. “I’m really lucky to have someone like that that’s a part of my life now, like a huge part of my life now because, I mean, he saved my life.”
It’s a unique bond built by bravery.
“I’m gonna keep the award forever,” Bailey said. “Probably something I might tell my kids about, I don’t know.”
Eldridge’s mother, Joy Eldridge, says Bailey provided her with comfort in a frantic moment, and he even saved her daughter’s cell phone.
“I think that Brock will be connected to us in a very special way for a long time,” Joy told WCTV.
However, the Valdosta Wildcat says she and the Lowndes Viking are putting their new friendship on pause October 5, when rivalry-week for the two schools kicks off.
The Valdosta-Lowndes football matchup goes down on October 9.
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