Brandy Guin’s life changed in a moment when she became involved in a terrifying car crash. And as the vehicle began to burn up, she realized she was trapped inside. So, the mom went into panic mode – until her very own personal angel appeared.
Guin lives in Shelby, North Carolina, and she graduated from Western Carolina University with a nursing degree in 2015. The 29-year-old married Christopher Guin, a nuclear engineer who owns a limousine service, in April 2014.
The nurse and her husband then welcomed their first child, daughter Kinsley, in 2016; they also had a son named Beaux the following year. But a few months after Guin gave birth to their second child, disaster struck.
On September 18, 2017, Guin was driving along Boiling Springs Highway in Shelby. She was on her way to pick up her children, who were at their grandparents’ house. But what she didn’t realize was that within just a few seconds, her life would change forever.
All of a sudden, Guin had the horrifying realization that a car traveling in the opposite direction was coming right at her. The other vehicle had crossed over the middle of the road and into her lane. She reacted instantly and slammed her foot on the brake.
“It happened so fast,” Guin told Inside Edition. “They approximated we were going about 45 miles per hour, and I came to a dead stop in three feet. I bent the brake petal; I was pushing so hard trying to get it to stop.”
However, it was already too late. The other car didn’t stop in time, and it smashed into Guin’s vehicle. “The airbags all popped from the sides and the front,” the nurse recalled.
Guin was in shock but felt her adrenaline kick in. She therefore tried to get out of the vehicle; after suddenly feeling a sharp pain, though, she realized she was more injured than she had first thought. “I tried to put my right foot down… and I saw the bone sticking out of my leg,” Guin later said.
The mom of two added, “I had to sit back down and I didn’t know what I was going to do.” And Guin feared that she could be trapped in the car because she was too hurt to get out by herself. But then something incredible happened.
Staff Sgt. Cory Hinkle of the North Carolina Army National Guard has spent 16 years as a member of the military. He used to clear roadside bombs in Iraq, had encountered IEDs and had once been close to an explosion. And fortunately for Guin, he had witnessed her accident.
Hinkle was driving home from his base in Charlotte to his home in Forest City, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. The soldier then saw the collision on the highway ahead of him – and he immediately sprang into action. “I knew there had to be injuries, so I parked and ran instantly to the closest car to me,” he said.
Guin noticed Hinkle just as she was panicking about how she was going to get out of the car. And the soldier, based on past experiences, knew he had to work quickly. “My instinct and training tells me that smoke means there’s going to be a fire, and a car has gasoline in it,” he told The Charlotte Observer.
Recalling the incident, Hinkle told Inside Edition, “I got there in time to grab her and pick her back up. I could smell gasoline… I knew we had to move.” So the staff sergeant carried Guin to the other side of the road with the assistance of another driver.
And it turned out that Hinkle had rescued Guin just in time, as the nurse’s vehicle was already on fire by the time the soldier had got her to safety. “At that point, I just [lay] down beside [Guin], because the shocks and tires were exploding,” Hinkle explained. “I made her keep looking at me, I made her keep talking.”
The soldier assured Guin that he was there to keep her safe as the car began to explode nearby. “I started panicking, and the shocks started to go. [Hinkle] rolled his body over mine, shielded me and protected me,” she remembered.
Guin added, “The first time the shocks went off, it terrified me. It was loud, it was an explosion. [But Hinkle] said, ‘Don’t worry, it’ll have to go through me to get to you.’” While shielding her, Hinkle hurt his head and suffered a foot injury from a scrap of metal.
The mother of two was then taken to hospital with a broken ankle and a facial fracture. And she spent four days in recovery, where she was visited by Hinkle. “I had quite a few family members there, and when he came in, we all started crying,” Guin shared. “We’ve talked every day since. We’re [going to] be lifelong friends.”
The nurse had to use a walking frame and have physical therapy; she has also had three surgeries in total. Furthermore, Guin and Hinkle arranged for him to bring his children to her Halloween party, so their kids could meet and become friends – just as they have.
Meanwhile, Hinkle was hailed for his heroic actions and presented with the key to the city. And Guin says he has earned all of the admiration he is receiving. “He’s my guardian angel,” she shared. “He deserves all the praise in the world. He’s just an amazing man.”
But Hinkle insisted that he was simply acting on instinct. He told Inside Edition, “Anybody that wears the uniform that I wear – any one of them – I’m confident would’ve done the exact same thing in the same situation. The civilians I know would, too.”