ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KMOV.com) — A St. Charles County teenager is thankful to only have a few bumps and bruises after falling asleep behind the wheel and crashing into a creek bed.
Bryson Sutton, 17, said he was driving home late from work on Saturday night and was tired. He turned onto Highway DD in O’Fallon, a route he normally doesn’t take to his Lake St. Louis home.
“I’m pretty sure I dosed off or fell asleep because the next thing I remember after that is I woke up and I was flipping over and then I just stopped all of a sudden,” he said.
A mangled guardrail along Highway DD near Wild Turkey Run is a terrifying reminder of the crash.
“It landed on its side so I was up in the air and I couldn’t get out of the car,” Sutton said.
According to a report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Sutton’s car traveled across the center line and into a guardrail, flipped several times and landed 30 yards from the road in a creek.
“I knew something was wrong,” said Vanesa Sutton, Bryson’s mother.
She said she was tracking her son’s car on a cellphone app and noticed the speedometer had come to a rest at zero, but knew her son wasn’t in the driveway.
“I could see where the car had stopped so I got in the car and came down here and I wasn’t sure if he was dead or alive,” she said.
But before she realized something was wrong, a passerby noticed something else near the scene that didn’t seem right.
“We’re driving home and ran over a bunch of stuff right here in the road and kept driving, but I was like what did I just run over?” said Karin Orf. “It was just so much stuff in the road.”
Orf was returning home with her daughter shortly after midnight after the two had driven to a nearby park in an attempt to see the Northern Lights.
“My daughter said to me, ‘what if?’ and that we should turn around because something didn’t look right,” Orf said. “So I pulled a U-turn and we put the car in park and the flashers on.”
As soon as they got out of their car, Orf said she heard desperate calls for help coming from the darkness.
“I could hear Bryson yelling for help, just yelling at the top of his lungs for anybody and I was like, ‘oh my gosh,’ and my daughter saw a light down in the creek and I was like, ‘I have to go, I’m going down.'”
Orf wandered through the high brush and into the creek, where Sutton’s car was resting on its passenger side.
“He was hanging by his seatbelt in the air and I couldn’t get him out,” she said. “So I told him to stay still and had my daughter call 911.”
“She stayed with me, talked to me, told me everything was going to be okay, she comforted me a lot and I’m really appreciative that she was there,” Bryson Sutton said.
First responders arrived, along with Bryson Sutton’s parents, soon after. Firefighters extricated him through the windshield. He suffered a concussion and a cut to his left hand.
“For someone to take the time in the middle of the night to go in the woods, down in this creek and just be with my son, it means the world,” Vanesa Sutton said. “For her to put herself in danger, it really shows there are still good people in this world.”
Orf said there’s a divine reason she was out that night and believes God put her in the right place to help Bryson Sutton.
The Suttons say she’s family now and will be invited to all family get-togethers from here on out.
“She’s not going to be able to get rid of us,” laughed Vanesa Sutton.