LEWISTON, Idaho — Jason Warnock’s attempt to be an anonymous hero worked out in part. The hero part.
Social media within a day eliminated any chance of the anonymous part after a photo of him pulling a driver from an SUV dangling over a 20-foot cliff above a northern Idaho canyon appeared in the local newspaper.
“This is exactly what I didn’t want,” Warnock, with a resigned laugh, told the Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/1JQwWAM ) at his Clarkston, Washington, home Thursday. “That’s why I left. I cannot stress that enough. I’d rather be in the mountains picking mushrooms.”
Instead, police confirmed Warnock yanked the man to safety, and his boss gave him the day off to deal with a deluge of media questions.
It started Wednesday morning, witnesses say, when the SUV being operated erratically left the road, careened through a yard and over two terraces, and got snared in a chain-link fence that stopped it from crashing into Bryden Canyon. Police say the 23-year-old driver received minor injuries.
Warnock, 29, was riding to work with a construction crew to a job site when they saw debris on the road that had fallen from above.
Looking up, they saw the SUV with one wheel over the edge. The man inside pounded on the window.
Warnock ran to a pedestrian bridge, crossed it, then climbed a fence to the embankment above the cliff. He traversed a steep slope to get to the vehicle. An attempt to break the window with a multi-tool failed but caused the SUV to rock.
“That’s when I thought I don’t want to be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Warnock said. “In a moment of clarity, I asked him if his window would roll down.”
The window opened despite the damage to the vehicle.
“I was like, ‘Give me your hand, because if this thing goes, I want to have a good grip on you,”’ Warnock said. “‘That way I can pull you out while it’s going.”’