OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. — A teenage girl is staying hopeful that she will be able to walk again after she was rescued from a fiery crash in September.
However, Payton Leske is facing her journey with gratitude for the two men who saved her life.
“I didn’t think I wouldn’t be this well today,” said Payton Leske. I’m going to be walking soon.”
On Sept. 15, Spencer Wintermote and Dillon Resendiz were driving to work on the morning of Sept. 15 when they witnessed a massive collision involving a tractor-trailer and a pickup truck wedged underneath.
The two responded right away and quickly realized a 17-year-old girl was trapped inside and pinned under her steering wheel.
“Everything was going against us at first,” said Spencer Wintermote. “Once we broke the window we realized we couldn’t pull her out. We were fighting time and at that moment the fire broke through the firewall.”
On Monday afternoon, Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen recognized Wintermote and Resendiz with a lifesaving award for their quick response and valiant efforts to rescue Payton Leske.
“I broke the window out and they were able to find a chain saw in the back of my truck,” said Dillon Resendiz. “We pulled the door off and then pulled her out. As soon as we pulled her out the truck was engulfed in flames.”
“They were there for me,” said Leske. “I wasn’t alone.”
The impact of the collision caused a lot of damage to Leske’s legs, which has been the focus during her recent physical therapy appointments.
“In the next year I should be able to walk by myself,” said Leske.
After leaving the hospital, Leske was sent to a rehabilitation facility at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach.
“They were amazing,” Leske about the staff. “They helped me tremendously. I am going to physical therapy three times a week and just trying to regain range of motion.”
Leske also expressed her deep appreciation for the support she received from the community over the last two months.
She believes it’s a big reason for the recent strides she’s made during her recovery.
“I’m very grateful for my friends and family,” Leske said as she was fighting back tears. “I probably wouldn’t be in the state I am in if I didn’t have their support.”