May 19, 2022

Witness Says Henry Ruggs Tried to Save Woman, Hasn’t Slept Since

Henry Ruggs has been hailed a hero after the crash that killed two people. He was driving on Highway 20 when he saw his friend’s car spinning out of control and into oncoming traffic, so he did what any good man would do: he swerved to avoid it, but ended up crashing head-on with another vehicle. When Henry got out of the car, he noticed there was a woman in the other car who looked like she needed help. So instead of waiting for emergency responders or even calling 911, Henry ran over to her side and tried to pull her from the wreckage before it caught fire.

Henry Ruggs is one of the lucky few who witnessed a terrible tragedy and managed to escape almost unscathed. But what he did after didn’t help him either: instead of waiting for help, Henry decided to attempt helping the woman trapped in her car by prying open the door and pulling her from the burning vehicle. He failed to realize that the situation was far beyond his capabilities. The woman’s car had been hit so hard that her seatbelt was jammed, and every time Henry would yank on the door handle, he could have easily dislocated her shoulder or broken a bone. By the time emergency responders arrived, it was too late for both of them: Henry had sustained serious injuries and the woman died. She was found with her feet on the dashboard, as if she’d been trying to push herself away from the flames.

However, it is unclear whether this position was a result of impact or an attempt to escape.

This story started like any other accident: two cars collided, causing one of them to catch fire. But what happened after was anything but usual: Henry Ruggs, the man who tried to save his trapped friend, ended up trapping himself and dying with her.

The accident happened on Highway 20 near Perdido Bay in Escambia County, Florida. According to police reports, a car driven by 26-year old Mark Heim was making a U-turn when it entered the oncoming lane and crashed head-on with a Ford F-150 driven by Henry Ruggs, 21. The impact was so severe that Heim’s car caught fire, which spread to the truck as well. Both men got out of their vehicles and tried to help Heim’s female passenger, who was 24-year old Brittany Jones.

But when Ruggs went into the burning car, he ended up trapping himself and Jones in their seats – along with his friend, Mark Heim. While it initially looked like Henry had run back to help the couple escape before it became obvious they were trapped inside, it later turned out that Henry was actually trying to free the backseat passenger side door. Whenever he would yank on the handle, his actions would pull Jones’ shoulder into her neck or push her head down onto the dashboard – which is how she ended up with her feet against the windshield when she died.

Before the woman’s body was found, both Henry Ruggs and Mark Heim had sustained serious injuries. Henry suffered burns to his chest, arms and face, while Heim got third degree burns on more than 30% of his body. They were immediately transferred to Baptist Hospital for treatment, but neither survived the night – Henry died at 5:30 AM and Heim at 7:00 AM.