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Onlooker rescues Tenn. boy after legs severed by train
By Jody Callahan
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Igor Kobas was standing outside Elfo's restaurant just before 6 p.m. Saturday when the commotion started.
All he heard was screaming, coming from near the train tracks that pass through that part of Germantown.
"I went to see what was going on, and the people were all shocked, on their phones," said Kobas, 21. "I looked at the kid down here, and his leg was missing. He was screaming and yelling and nobody knew what to do."
That kid was Caleb Roedel, 15, who was fooling around with two friends when he jumped aboard a slow-moving train about 150 feet east of the Germantown Commissary restaurant, according to Germantown police.
When Roedel tried to jump off, though, his leg got stuck and the train severed it a little below the knee, near the shin.
Roedel was bleeding out and the paramedics were on the other side of the tracks, blocked by the train. So Kobas ran to Roedel, who was still screaming and saying how stupid he'd been to jump on the train.
"I took my belt off when I saw him. I wrapped my belt around his leg, tied his leg off," said Kobas, who is a parking valet at Elfo's. "I put the belt right above his knee and tied it off and twisted it."
At that point, others joined in, with some bringing ice and towels from the restaurant to pack both parts of the leg.
Soon, the paramedics arrived and a helicopter airlifted the boy to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.
Unfortunately, doctors were unable to reattach the leg, but Roedel was upgraded to stable condition on Sunday.
His father said he'll be hospitalized for about a week.
"He is fine. He's in stable condition. We're just seeing the doctors over the next couple of days as they clean out the wound," said Kevin Roedel, Caleb Roedel's father and the rugby coach at Germantown High. "His spirits are well. He's strong."
Now, Kobas is being hailed as a hero, his quick action preventing the boy from bleeding to death right there on the tracks.
"Hell, he worked all night (Saturday) after he saved this kid's life. Had blood all over his arms," said his boss at Elfo's, Alex Grisanti. "He definitely saved the kid's life."