She was driving to work, when she stopped to take heroic action

Posted at 11:06 PM, Apr 14, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- She won't allow you to call her a hero, but what US Marshal Sandy Ledbetter-Clarkson did on her way to work was something Virginia State Police described as heroic in every sense of the word.

Ledbetter-Clarkson was driving to Richmond International Airport along Interstate 295 south in Hanover County at 4 a.m. on a recent Sunday.

She was flying to Ohio to extradite a fugitive.

But in a second, her mission changed.

"The vehicle in front of me just went off the side of the road. I thought they were just pulling over, but she never hit her brakes and just kept going and ran into a tree or something," Ledbetter-Clarkson said. "There's no heroes and I did what anybody else would have done. God put me in the right place at the right time."

Ledbetter-Clarkson put her car in park and ran to the car.

She could hear the woman screaming for help.

"I finally got the door open. There was a small child in the car seat and there was another child and then a mother screaming for help getting her babies out of the car," she said.

Ledbetter-Clarkson, also a mom, grabbed the children and carried them to safety up the embankment.

As the smoke coming from the crashed car grew more intense, the mother was still trapped in her vehicle.

"The oldest [child] looked at me and said, 'Are you going to save my mom? Are you got to get out of the car?'" she said. "I just completely sunk at that point. Like, 'yes, I am. I'll get your mom out, baby."

And she did, pulling the mother from the car. As she struggled to carry the woman away from the burning car, Ledbetter-Clarkson said she felt and knew God was sending her help.

"I had her halfway up the hill. And there stood a man just out of nowhere. And I said, 'Dude you gotta help me get this lady the rest of the way up the hill.' And he just looked at me and I said, 'I need your help now.' And he did and we were able to pull her the rest of the way up the hill and put her behind my car. Her car was on fire and I was afraid it was gonna blow up," she said.

Thanks to Sandy Ledbetter-Clarkson's quick and decisive action, the woman and her children were relatively unharmed. She also made her flight to Ohio.

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