In early 2011, Thrailkill, an OU women’s basketball assistant coach, was there for Annie, then my girlfriend and now my fiancé, and her friend when an intoxicated driver crashed into their car late one evening.
That night, Thrailkill was heading south on Interstate 35 in Moore when he noticed a big truck swerving all over the road. He followed the truck and called the police, trying to get someone to stop the clearly intoxicated driver before he hurt someone.
The truck exited on westbound Main Street in Norman; Thrailkill, still on the phone with police, followed and witnessed it crash into a gold Ford Taurus, which was completely stopped at a red light.
The Taurus flew through the red light — thank God no one was heading north or south through the intersection at the time — and was crunched so badly that if anyone had been in the back seat, they probably wouldn’t have survived.
Thrailkill jumped out of his car and checked on the driver and passenger, then spoke to the police about what he’d seen.
Both Annie and her friend were injured, but thankfully it was never extremely serious. They recovered after months of doctor visits and physical therapy, though they both still sometimes become visibly nervous on the road. I’m not sure if that’ll ever go away.
An officer told Annie who’d followed the truck and helped her after the crash. I still worked on The Oklahoman‘s copy desk at the time, so I e-mailed a couple people at OU and asked them to pass along my gratitude.
But I never had the chance to speak with Thrailkill personally until last week.
We met before the Sooners’ win over North Texas. Thrailkill remembered the accident well and asked how everyone was doing. He didn’t seem to think he’d done anything heroic; he was just trying to stop an accident from happening.
Still, I’ll always be appreciative of Thrailkill for being there for Annie when I couldn’t.