By: Tom Lambert
A perfect stranger to Jamil Stallings celebrated the holiday season with his friends and family because of Stallings’ decisive, heroic actions and those of a good Samaritan.
On Black Friday, Stallings was on routine patrol as a part-time police officer for the Clayton Township Police Department in Genesee County at about 11:30 p.m.
A few miles away, Stallings – who also works as a natural gas distribution field leader at Consumers Energy – saw a large fire in Flint Township. As he sped toward the scene, he saw smoke coming from a small pickup truck that had overturned in the middle of Corunna and Dye roads.
“Things didn’t look good at all,” said Stallings, who has worked at the police department since 2008. “It was a two-vehicle accident, and one of the gentlemen was calling 9-1-1. There was a woman at the scene, and the victim was still in the overturned pickup. The flames were starting to intensify.”
Stallings and the woman, who he later learned worked for ambulance services but was off duty, sprang into action. Stallings radioed dispatch immediately and advised they were going to pull the man out because they couldn’t wait for the fire department.
“As we approached the vehicle, we realized the man was hanging upside down and unconscious,” Stallings said. “Since she was better able to get into the vehicle, the woman unbuckled the man’s seatbelt to free him. I grabbed him and was able to pull him out before the fire got worse.”
Stallings placed the man in the grass out of harm’s way as medics arrived on scene to perform CPR. An ambulance then took the man to a nearby hospital.
“I saw his chest rise and fall and he was making some noises, so I knew he would be all right,” he added. “That was definitely a moment of relief for everyone.”
The Flint Township sergeant also arrived at the scene and thanked him and the woman for saving the man’s life. Stallings said that if the man remained in the vehicle even a few seconds longer, he wouldn’t have survived.
“When we arrived at the scene, it took about a minute for everything to play out,” Stallings said. “Never in my life did I realize how long a minute takes – it seemed like it was forever. I am just glad everything turned out all right.”
He checked later with dispatch and learned the man was in serious condition but was expected to survive.
“I have new respect for firefighters who run into buildings with no fear whatsoever,” Stallings said. “My adrenaline was running pretty high and I felt like I could do anything. I felt like the Incredible Hulk. And the woman was very brave. She didn’t hesitate for one minute about going into harm’s way for a stranger. We weren’t going to lose that man that day. Not on my watch.”