OSU associate AD saves man's life in car accident

Kyle Waters

Kyle Waters (third from left) receives a commendation from OSU Police Chief Leon Jones after saving a man's life from a burning vehicle.

For OSU senior associate athletic director Kyle Waters, Feb. 3 started off as any other typical Monday. The air was brisk, he had to deal with OSU baseball’s approaching season opener and he was present in the usual Monday athletics meetings.

Then he had to go save a life.

During the meeting, Jason Lewis, an executive senior associate athletic director, noticed the stop light at the intersection of Hall of Fame Avenue and Knoblock Street had suddenly stopped working. The entire room stood up to peer out the window and try to see what had happened. Upon looking out the window, members of the staff noticed black smoke was rising from a truck that had crashed into both an electrical box and another vehicle close to the light.

After seeing that, Waters knew he had to get to the scene.

“I was expecting to call my counterpart on campus Ron Tarbutton and say, ‘Hey, a car hit a stop light, you know, maybe call Chief Jones and say, ‘The stop light’s out. We need to get a police officer here to direct traffic,’” Waters said. “And I noticed that the tires on the truck were still spinning faster and faster and faster and the tires were catching on fire, so I knew somebody was still in there.”

When Waters noticed someone was still in the truck, his first instinct was to find whatever he could to break into the burning vehicle and save the man-- who had passed out from low blood sugar.

“I fully expected him to have had a heart attack or a stroke, you know something like that, unconscious,” Waters said. “So I just kind of looked around and, fortunately, there was a brick that wasn’t attached. I grabbed it and threw it through the window, and the gentleman woke up, and he didn’t have to see how good my CPR was.”

After pulling the man out of the truck and giving his statement to the police, Waters returned to his 2 o’clock meeting.

Waters said people have been curious as to why he went right back to the meeting, but for him, business was able to go on as usual.

“I tell people that and they laugh, and I’m like everything was fine, the kid was OK and the firemen handled their part,” Waters said. “So we went back to the meeting.”

In the following days, Waters received awards, national television recognition and gained more notoriety on search engines. Waters said while the attention was fun, he hopes to inspire others to do similar things.

“I went from, you had to Google my name, and you found that I worked for AEG,” Waters said. “And now you Google my name, and it makes me out to be like I stormed Normandy or something, which is a far cry from that. It’s great. Hopefully other people are like, ‘I should do the same thing. I should help out too.’”

In addition to the national spotlight, Waters has also received numerous compliments at work. Some coworkers say, “Great job,” while others have fun with Waters in light of his recent valiance.

“The guys that work with me, they’re taking full advantage of making fun of me,” Waters said. “They made a couple of ‘Captain America’ and stuff like that.”

OSU Chief of Police Leon Jones presented Waters with a commendation the day after the incident. In a statement from OSU, Jones talked about the bravery of Waters’ actions.

“After witnessing the accident and seeing flames erupt from the truck, Kyle Waters, without fear for his own safety, removed the driver from the truck and to safety until LifeNet arrived to render aid,” Jones said. “Kyle is a true member of our community and deserves recognition for helping a person in need without regard for his own safety. He is one of the reasons why Oklahoma State University and Stillwater is one of the greatest communities to live in.”

news.ed@okstate.edu