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Family remembers Monroe County man who died rescuing two women stuck on railroad crossing

"I think most people would take 10 steps back for every step that he took forward in that moment," said Chris Burkett's brother.

MONROE COUNTY, Ga. — Three people died Wednesday in a train vs. car accident in Monroe County.

David Buffington helped out Chris Burkett, one of the three people killed the night of the accident. They were working on a house nearby when they saw an SUV get stuck on the tracks with sounds of an oncoming train in the distance.  

Buffington and Burkett found 93-year-old Shirley Treadwell and her caregiver, 66-year-old Debra Hall, minutes before the train struck, killing Burkett and the two women.

"It replays over and over in my mind, but the way I remember it is that Chris -- he was the brave hero in the situation and was risking his life to save somebody else," said Buffington.

On Sunday, a memorial was held for Burkett.

"Whenever he seen that car got stuck, it wasn't even a moment of hesitation for him. He went straight to that car to get them people out to safety. By the time I looked up, I dove out the way because the train was about 20 yards away. By the time I dove out of the way and looked up... that's when the train hit," said Buffington.

Burkett's brother and sister, Scott Burkett and Angie Brown, attended the memorial and say their brother was the kind of person who would run towards the sound of gunfire, not away from it.

"I know a lot of people who talk about 'Oh, I could do that.' No, I think most people would take 10 steps back for every step that he took forward in that moment. I am not even sure I could, and I think it is a very super human thing to know that he gave his life," said Scott.

Burkett's sister says her brother died the way he lived.

"Chris had a saying, 'What good am I if I can't help somebody?' If he could rewind the clock, he would do the exact thing and try to save those people," said Brown.

The family will be holding a celebration of life ceremony next Saturday at Chapel Mill Tree Farm. The time has yet to be announced. 


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