Eyewitness Stacee McWilliams was on her way from celebrating her birthday when she came upon the crash scene. McWilliams tells the Dallas Morning News that Brent had to be coerced to attempt to rescue Brown from the burning vehicle.
“As I was on the access road, I approached the aftermath of what was obviously a horrible, tragic incident. When I first pulled up to the scene, there was a little bit of a flame coming from the flipped vehicle, like in the engine area. Just a very small flame and I wasn’t too overly concerned for that. I jumped out of my vehicle and ran up to make sure that everyone was okay. As I got closer to the scene, there was a gentleman, which I later found out was Josh Brent, that was standing off to the right side of the wreckage, kind of pacing back and forth, you know, walking around.
“I asked him if he was okay, I said ‘Is everyone okay?’, ‘Are you alright?’, and he responded to me, he said that he was fine.
“The person that was in the other vehicle stepped out of her car and she said ‘I’ve already called 9-1-1, they’re on the way’. And I was like, I’m so relieved that, you know, single-car collision, no injuries, fine…But it took no time at all for this fire to really get engaged. It became very hot, very bright, very big and then I started to hear screams coming from inside the vehicle and it was a man’s voice saying ‘Help me’, you know, ‘Help, somebody help me’. And I turned and looked at the gentleman in the black pants (Brent), and I said ‘Is there a passenger? Is there somebody in the car?’. And he said ‘Yeah’. And I told him ‘Well, get him out of the car’.
“Josh looked at me and he said ‘He won’t get out of the car’. And I said ‘Well, you can’t just leave him in there and let him die. You’ve got to help him. Go get him’. And I commanded him several times and Josh looked at me, and he again said ‘He won’t get out of the car’. And I told him ‘You can’t stand here and watch him die. You’ve got to get him out’.”
McWilliams returned to her vehicle to retrieve her phone and when she returned, Brent had pulled the passenger (Brown) from the fiery wreck.
“He (Brown) was laying in the middle of the lane, very still. He had his arms were outstretched, almost in the shape of a ‘T’. And he was moving his arms just a little bit, he was moving his head just a little bit. So I was like ‘Okay, he’s not dead, he’s alive’. You know, I felt some sense of relief. The fire was getting bigger, glass was starting to shatter. I don’t know where Josh went at this point, because he just disappeared into the darkness behind the vehicle.
“I didn’t know Jerry in life. I never heard of him, I didn’t know who he was,” McWilliams added. “But I want people to understand that Josh Brent is not a hero. I keep hearing reports of how he was there to pull his friend from the fire, but he had to be coerced and pushed and begged and pleaded to get his friend out of the fire. And when he pulled him out, he just left him in the street. He didn’t tell him ‘Hang in there, help is on the way’. Nothing. He just left him there and I want the magnitude of that to be understood.”
Few would regard Brent as a hero. The bottom line is that he made the decision to drive after consuming alcohol, a decision that resulted in the death of his close friend and teammate, Jerry Brown, and the end to what was a promising football career for himself, which will now be replaced by a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a lifetime of regret over what he has done. Brent is eligible for forgiveness, though, and the Brown family is doing just that.
It’s also important to note that this is just one eyewitness account of an early morning incident where most of the participants had been consuming alcohol, which as we know, impairs judgment. If the allegations that Brent did not immediately act are true, it’s possible that Brent’s impaired state — a blood sample was taken at the scene because the incident involved a fatality — prevented him from doing so. It’s also possible that the injuries Brent sustained in the crash impacted his judgment or ability to fully comprehend what was happening.