‘For me it was simple, somebody needs help, you go help them’ — Strangers save woman from burning car in Knoxville


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A group of strangers put their lives at risk to save a woman from a burning car. They say they saw someone who needed help, so they did.

Trisha Coker was driving down Kingston Pike going toward Walker Springs Road when her car crossed over the eastbound lanes of Kingston Pike and struck a KUB utility pole head-on. According to Knoxville Police, the force of the impact snapped the pole in half and the car caught on fire in the right-hand eastbound lane. 

Amy Farley and Christine Marion were working across the street from the crash when one of their coworkers noticed a car had crashed across the street. They immediately went across the street to try to help the woman in the car.

“As I ran to go across the street, as I got in the middle, it started sparking so I said, ‘we gotta move, we gotta move,'” Marion said.

“I ran to the car and assessed the situation. The woman was injured and couldn’t walk, couldn’t get out. By that time, she had stopped traffic and a man came to help me carry her out of danger,” Farley said.

Farley says she and another man carried Trisha to safety while the car burned. Marion says she helped block traffic so that they could safely help Trisha.

Trisha’s family says they’re grateful for the strangers that risked their lives to help her.

“Those were literally like her guardian angels. That they were able to get her out before she just completely lost everything in the fire,” Enoch Wiggleston, Trisha’s brother, said.

“I thought it was really brave for someone especially with a car on fire to pull her out and we were just really thankful to those people for actually being there and helping,” Hannah Wiggleston, Trisha’s sister-in-law, said.

Trisha suffered a lacerated liver, a broken hand, a broken leg and a spinal injury, but she tells her brother she is grateful to be alive.

Farley and Marion say they don’t consider themselves heroes, but that night was life changing for them.

“I didn’t know I had the courage to do that. You never know until you’re faced with that situation,” Farley said.

We’re told, when Trisha was rushed to the hospital after the accident, doctors found a gallbladder issue that could have killed Trisha a few days later. Her brother says if the accident hadn’t happened when it did, she wouldn’t have caught the issue in time and it would have killed her.

Trisha was transported to UT Medical Center where she remains recovering from her injuries. She has had five surgeries since the accident and has to have one more, but is expected to recover.


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