BROOKSVILLE -- A Bracken County man was honored Saturday for saving the lives of three local teenagers in August.

At noon on Saturday, numerous officials and guests gathered at the Haley House Museum to see Michael Chestnut presented with certificates and a heroism award due to his efforts that saved the lives of three teenagers after a vehicle accident in August.

According to Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Boyce, two vehicles overturned during the accident and one of them had caught fire.

The accident happened around mid-August in the Foster area of Bracken County.

The three teenagers were airlifted to the University of Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

"Thank God they were still alive," he said. "Unfortunately, the driver in the other vehicle was deceased upon impact."

Chestnut said he had been visiting a vehicle repair shop and as he left, he heard the accident just up the road from him.

"I backed out and took off," he said. "I was stopped to talk to a couple friends of mine and I went down the hill. When I got down the hillside, I heard the accident, but I didn't see it. I was there about 10 seconds after it happened."

Chestnut said when he arrived at the scene, he saw two vehicles had collided; a van and a passenger car. The driver of the van was deceased and three teenagers were unconscious in the car.

"I cut the boys' seat belts," he said. "By the time I got the boys out, the car was in flames. I hooked the car with a chain and pulled it away from the van to keep the van from catching on fire."

Chestnut had just had surgery a few weeks prior and was still recovering, but he said it did not stop him from trying to save the boys.

"I'd just had surgery, so I wasn't feeling too well," he said. "But, I couldn't going in the car after them. I drove a truck for years and I've seen that before. I did what I had to do. I wasn't going to let them burn. God put me in the place I needed to be at that time. I'm just glad to see they're alive."

During the ceremony on Saturday, Aaron Thompson with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's office, presented Chestnut with an acclamation honoring his efforts. He was also named a Kentucky Colonel and presented with a certificate from Kentucky Rep. John Sims Jr. and an award from the Woodmen of the World.

Bracken County Judge-Executive Earl Bush began the ceremony on Saturday to tell everyone why it was important to honor Chestnut.

"Right after that accident happened, dispatch, EMS and the KSP all had the same story," Bush said. "I think it's amazing and you wonder how someone could do it. I think what we have here is a hometown hero. I think it's only fitting that we honor him for everything he did that day."

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