Winston-Salem State player saves teen from burning car

Written By Steven J. Gaither

The heroic actions of Winston-Salem (N.C.) State running back Kenneth Sharpe saved a teenager from the wreckage of a burning car in eastern North Carolina on Friday.

Sharpe and his girlfriend were driving when they came across the accident after two vehicles collided. After getting out of his vehicle, Sharpe found 13-year-old Benjamin Rodwell attempting to crawl out of his brother’s vehicle, which was overturned and on fire.

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"He was about four feet from the fire," Sharpe told WRAL. "And I got to him. I was about a good five or six (feet). And I told him 'Hey crawl to me, crawl to me.' I grabbed him. I pulled him on my shoulder and I automatically started taking him to the car."

Sharpe, 19, comes from a family of firefighters. He made sure to keep Rodwell awake on the way to Halifax Regional Medical Center.

"I said 'What's your favorite color,' " Sharpe said. "He said 'My favorite color is orange.' I said 'What sport do you like to play?' He said 'I like to play football.' "

Rodwell suffered severe injuries on the lower half of his body, and is expected to have surgery Monday. The accident claimed the life of Rodwell's 17-year-old brother, Zachary, as well 23-year-old Brandon Lee, who was driving the other vehicle.  

It might have claimed Rodwell's life too, if it had not been for the initiative of Sharpe, who state troopers and the Rodwell family call a hero.

"If that was anybody I would, you know, do it," he said. "Because if that was me in that predicament I would want somebody to do the same thing."

Sharpe hopes to invite Benjamin to one of his football games this season. 

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