Utah Blaze player saves woman's life
Friday May 17, 2013
All-Arena receiver Lesué rescues woman from burning vehicle
CHICAGO – Aaron Lesué is known by many as an All-Arena wide receiver for the Utah Blaze.
Some are aware of his aspirations to become a United States Olympic bobsledder.
Others are familiar with the former Utah State walk-on from his participation in the Dancing with the Salt Lake Stars competition to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life this past March.
But after the events of April 24, 2013, even more have come to recognize the world-class athlete for what he really is: a hero.
On that day, Lesué was driving home from Blaze practice down Interstate-15 when he witnessed a devastating car crash take place in front of him.
“A car on I-15 swerved in front of an SUV, and the SUV swerved and hit the median on the freeway,” Lesué said. “It rolled and ended up upside down. I just immediately felt like I needed to stop my car and go help.”
Lesué and a handful of others who had seen the crash approached to offer assistance.
“The car was smashed pretty bad so we had to jar the door open,” Lesué said.
The engine had caught fire and smoke was beginning to fill the car.
“Luckily, there was a guy there who had a fire extinguisher in his car,” Lesué said. “I think he may have been in a little bit of shock himself because he just set it on the ground, so I picked it up and started to use it, then handed it to another guy to finish putting the fire out while I went inside to help Brianna get out.”
The driver, Brianna Hatch, was conscious, but unresponsive and hanging upside down by her seatbelt. She had suffered injuries to her shoulder, sternum and ribcage and was having trouble breathing through the smoke when Lesué reached her.
“I was really shaken up,” Hatch said. “I couldn’t really talk because I was so scared. It wasn’t until I reached out and grabbed Aaron’s hand that I was able to talk and calm down.”
Lesué was able to successfully unhook Hatch’s seatbelt and carefully removed her from the car, out of harm’s way.
“At that moment, nothing else really mattered,” Lesué said. “Everything else got pushed aside to help this girl so that she would be okay.”
Not knowing the extent of her injuries or even who she was, Lesué carried Hatch over to the side of the road to wait with her until the ambulance arrived.
“She held onto my hand until the paramedics got there,” Lesué said. “It was kind of a crazy moment for me. The rest of the day, I was really flustered. I went from not knowing this person to really caring for her and wanting her to be okay.”
Lesué took note of what hospital Hatch was going to and reached out to her family to make sure she was going to be okay.
“Aaron found me on Facebook and we proceeded to talk and text and write to each other,” Hatch said. “We’ve been in contact ever since.”
The two have formed a strong friendship based not just upon the circumstances of their meeting, but due to another unforeseen connection.
“We’re both athletes,” Lesué said.
Hatch is a two-time United States figure skating gold medalist, who also coaches the sport at Brigham Young University.
“I didn’t know who she was before the wreck, obviously, and she didn’t know who I was,” Lesué said.
Hatch would soon find out that Lesué possessed a fairly impressive athletic résumé himself.
“When I got better, he invited me to come see his next home game,” Hatch said.
In the first quarter, Lesué – who recorded more touchdowns than any player in League history between the regular season and postseason in 2012 – returned a kickoff 55 yards for a touchdown.
After the score, he ran across the field to give Hatch the ball.
“I thought that was really cool,” Hatch said. “It was my first Arena Football game and I had so much fun. The atmosphere was so fun and energetic. You could tell the fans really loved their team.”
While the game was a very memorable night for Hatch, Lesué says it pales in comparison to what the whole experience has meant to him.
“There’s a lot to be said about being willing to do things for others,” Lesué said. “I gained a great friend because of it. The blessings that have come just from meeting her and her family would have never been there if I weren’t willing to stop that day.”
Fortunately for Hatch – and Lesué – he did stop.
“I definitely don’t think there was anything heroic that I did,” Lesué insisted. “I just consider my actions to be what most people would do when they know someone is in need of help. Somebody needed my help and I just did whatever I could.”
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. CBS Sports Network will broadcast an AFL National Game of the Week on Saturday nights for the entire regular season and postseason through the semifinal round. The ArenaBowl XXVI Championship Game will air on the CBS Television Network on August 17, 2013.