An emotional Trey McDaniel received a $50,000 thank-you on Thursday at Texas Toyota of Grapevine.
The MedStar paramedic was in uniform and on his way to work Feb. 11 when his Toyota FJ Cruiser became one of more than 100 vehicles involved in a disastrous crash on I-35W. Videos of the wreck show his vehicle being catapulted into the air as incoming traffic crashed into him.
What he did after that is what led to Thursday’s event, where Toyota gave McDaniel a 2021 4Runner TRD Pro as a token of appreciation for rescuing drivers trapped in the deadly pileup.
“I saw that semi-truck barreling toward me and I figured it was my time,” McDaniel wrote in a post on Reddit following the crash. The video of his mangled vehicle being flung into the air had become a point of gross fascination for anonymous Redditors who hoped the driver had survived.
After his vehicle landed, McDaniel crawled out of his vehicle and began working with first responders on the scene to help treat other victims before being taken to the hospital himself.
The FJ, however, was a total loss.
At least six people died in the wreck and dozens were taken to the hospital.
Toyota responded to McDaniel’s Reddit post from the company’s account saying: “We’re just glad you’re safe and inspired that you chose to help others in need. We’re happy you’re part of the Toyota family. So, don’t worry about replacing your vehicle – it would be an honor for us to get you a new one!”
In a statement provided to The Dallas Morning News, Toyota said it was grateful for the emergency crews that arrived at the crash scene to assist the victims.
“We are especially thankful for Trey McDaniel who risked his life to help others after his Toyota FJ Cruiser was crushed in the accident,” the company said.