MoDOT employee helps rescue motorist from wrecked vehicle during winter storm

Posted December 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Northeast News
December 27, 2013

While treating bridges with salt in the Kansas City area during the winter storm Saturday, Dec. 21, Missouri Department of Transportation Senior Maintenance Worker David Winship found himself in a unique position to do a little more than usual to help a motorist in need.

“I was just in the right place at the right time and did what anyone would have done for someone else in need,” Winship said.

Winship had just driven across the U.S. Highway 69 Bridge over southbound Interstate 29 in Clay County around 3 p.m., when he saw smoke rising over the side of the guardrail. He pulled his snowplow over to investigate and discovered a smoking vehicle down the embankment resting on its driver side, against some trees. No emergency vehicles were on scene yet, and as Winship approached the vehicle, he could hear someone yelling for help from inside the vehicle.

After calling 911, Winship determined he needed to remove the motorist from the smoking vehicle, but because the doors were locked and the car was on its side, he knew he had to be creative. Luckily, the vehicle was a convertible and Winship used his pocket knife to cut a slit in the top. He then cut a hole large enough to pull the motorist from her vehicle with the help of another concerned motorist who pulled over to help.

Shortly after, emergency responders arrived to the scene. After a big bear hug to thank him for his efforts, Winship left to continue driving his route to help ensure other motorists could get to their destinations safely.

Winship, nearly a five-year veteran with MoDOT, said incidents like this are unusual, but being prepared for whatever may come your way is always important.

“I’m just glad I was there to help; it was a blessing all around,” he said.

“Our employees are out there every day working in potentially hazardous conditions like clearing snow, patching potholes or working incidents, ” said MoDOT KC District Engineer Dan Niec. “We care about keeping people safe on our roads, and our employees prove they will do whatever it takes to try to get everyone to their destination safely. David is another great example of the caliber of people who work for us, and I’m proud of each and every one of them.”

MoDOT Facts
•During inclement weather, approximately 400 MoDOT Kansas City Maintenance employees work 12-hour shifts using 200 trucks to clear the thousands of miles of roadways in the nine county Kansas City region. Employees work day and night until roads are clear.

•For information about road conditions, visit the department’s Traveler Information Map on its website at or to download the map to your smartphone, follow MoDOT at, like MoDOT at, or get up-to-the-minute road information in the metro area at Motorists can also call 888-ASK-MODOT anytime day or night for road conditions.