Wrangler-Driving FCA Boss Lauded for Heroic Efforts at Accident Scene!

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Ralph Gilles with the Wranglers

Ralph Gilles used his Wrangler to move a burning vehicle away from a crash scene, potentially saving someone’s life.

FCA design boss Ralph Gilles is one of the best-known executives due to his passion for the company and his active involvement in the Mopar community. Today, he is being called a hero after he and his Jeep Wrangler may have saved a life this past weekend, reports Michigan paper The Oxford Ledger.

The Accident

Early on the morning of February 18, Gilles and his wife, Doris, were driving home from a work event in a Jeep Wrangler when they came upon a nasty accident scene. (It is unclear whether he was driving an older JK or a new JL.)

A 2013 Ford Edge driven by a drunk 36-year-old man cross the center line and slammed into a 2013 Ford Fiesta. The 57-year old passenger died from the impact while the driver of the Fiesta was pinned in the crushed compact car. Gilles and his wife were the first to arrive at the accident scene, and after surveying the damage, he moved his Jeep away from the other vehicles.

While he was moving his Jeep, a 26-year old woman in a 1997 Buick LeSabre came motoring along and slammed into the Fiesta, shoving it up against the Edge. At that point, the Edge burst into flames. With both Ford vehicles leaking fluids and the driver trapped inside of the Fiesta, there was a risk of the fire spreading from the Edge.

Gilles knew that he had to do something, so he jumped into his Jeep Wrangler and used it to push the burning Ford away from the Fiesta. As a result, the fire did not spread to the occupied vehicle and the 60-year-old driver was removed by the fire department, although it took them 22 minutes. Based on that, it was clear that Gilles’ decision to move the wrecked Ford could have saved the life of the Fiesta driver.

Gilles’ Statement

Gilles has declined official statement through FCA, but he did post about the incident on Instagram while also including a short video of the accident scene.

“A long and sad night a week ago I will never forget,” writes Gilles. “By now many of you have read the story. We were first on the scene. I am NOT a hero, I think most people would have tried to help somehow. Understanding cars and their limitations may have played a factor sure. What ultimately turned out to be a 2 hour ordeal for us as we filled out Police reports, gave us a unique view of the whole process. It made us appreciate the true heroes. The first responders, Firemen/women, EMS and Police who deal with this stuff everyday day. It also made Doris and I realize how life can change in moments. Had I been standing in between the two crashed cars as I was just moments prior to the third car arriving. I likely would be part of history. Let’s all drive heads up all the time. My deepest condolences to the family of the woman who sadly passed away at the hospital.”

Gilles with the SRT Jeep

Gilles is well-liked in the Mopar world because he is a friendly, knowledgeable guy, but his actions followed by his statement deflecting praise to the first responders shows the quality of his character. He doesn’t want to be called a hero, but there is no denying that his actions here saved a life and that deserves some public praise.

You can check out the Instagram post below, showing the size of the fire created by the burning Ford Edge after Ralph Gilles pushed it clear of the accident with his Jeep Wrangler.

A long and sad night a week ago I will never forget. By now many of you have read the story. We were first on the scene. I am NOT a hero, I think most people would have tried to help somehow. Understanding cars and their limitations may have played a factor sure. What ultimately turned out to be a 2 hour ordeal for us as we filled out Police reports, gave us a unique view of the whole process. It made us appreciate the true heroes. The first responders, Firemen/women, EMS and Police who deal with this stuff everyday day. It also made Doris and I realize how life can change in moments. Had I been standing in between the two crashed cars as I was just moments prior to the third car arriving. I likely would be part of history. Lets all drive heads up all the time. My deepest condolences to the family of the woman who sadly passed away at the hospital.

A post shared by @ ralphgilles on

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