Eyewitnesses to the Dale Earnhardt Jr. crash recall the first moments on scene

Dale Jr. Plane Crash

EMS: “9-1-1, What’s your emergency”

Ashley Vance: “There’s an airplane that just wrecked over here by the Elizabethton Airport.”

The first cries for help after a plane crash in Elizabethton.

Ashley Vance: “He’s crashed right across the street from the BP, right in the highway. There’s fire everywhere.”

Ashley Vance and her family were on Highway 91 when Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s plane crashed through the airport fence and onto the road.

“There were sparks everywhere, flames immediately shot out from the plane,” recounts Vance.

They were so close that she thought the plane was actually going to hit their car.

“The first thing I saw was the kind of bluish-colored smoke coming from the plane when they were trying to hit the runway. The next thing I saw was the plane going straight toward the fence,” said Vance.

She immediately called 9-1-1 and jumped in to help.

EMS: “Is the pilot out?”

Ashley Vance: “No, he’s not, nobody’s moving.”

“During my 911, there was actually nobody moving, so I had thought the worst, obviously,” says Vance.

Moments later, Vance says, “I heard a big loud boom and the door opened and all the sudden, people started coming out.”

She ran over to Earnhardt’s wife and daughter to check on them. She said Amy Reimann asked that she check on her husband.

“He was laying on the ground and I got over there and he had rolled over and he was trying to move. I said ‘don’t move, just stay still, and don’t move your legs or anything’…and I was like ‘oh my God, it’s Dale Earnhardt Jr.,” says Vance.

After medics arrived, she recorded a viral video.

She she says what happened Thursday afternoon is something she can’t get out of her mind.

“It was insane, you see it a lot on movies and tv shows, but it is absolutely nothing compared to what it looks like in real life,” Vance said.

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