At 2 a.m. on Aug. 6, Kyle Folgmann, a power quality technician for Cherryland Electric Cooperative, was heading home after a long day of after-storm restoration work when a drunk driver speeding at over 100 mph passed his truck.
Kyle saw the scene unfold as the driver lost control, clipped several light poles, hit the Northern Michigan College sign, and stopped by hitting a tree. Running to help, Kyle found the young man lying across the front seats and was able to get him out of the car. However, the driver was very agitated and tried to fight him off, screaming that he wanted to commit suicide. Meanwhile, the car burst into flames from under the hood and as Kyle turned and sprinted for his fire extinguisher the driver crawled back into the burning car.
Using his safety training, Kyle was able to pull the driver out again and spray down the fire. Since he had called for help as soon as the car passed, all this took place while he was on the phone with 911 emergency services.
In over 11 years of working on the road, Kyle said it was the wildest experience he’s ever had during his career. . .or his whole life.
“It was pretty intense,” Kyle said. “When I was trying to get him out of the car it was hard to see because of the dark night, smoke, and dust from sandbags he hit along the way.” The car’s impact also shattered about a 10-foot section of the concrete curb, and he was concerned about whether the man might have a knife or gun in the car.
Overall, Kyle said the turn where the driver lost control was facing the right way. If it had gone the other way, he would’ve plowed into a mass of tent campers who were at the Civic Center for a biking event.
“Kyle is a great example of a community minded co-op employee,” notes Cherryland CEO, Tony Anderson. “Everyone at Cherryland is proud of Kyle.”