The Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections recently honored five inmates from the Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center, as well as a DOC sergeant.
The inmates and Sergeant Jason Lemons were part of a work-zone crew on May 18, gathering trash and clearing brush alongside Highway 20 west of Jay.
Each of them received certificates of commendation for attempting to save the life of Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation supervisor Jerrell Grey.
Three of the inmates talked with 2 Works For You on Monday. They said what they witnessed will stay with them, even after their jail time is over.
"Horrifying, I mean it was terrible," inmate Quinton Ross said.
The inmates had previously worked alongside Grey and said he was always focused on the job in front of him.
"When we were at the job site, he was all about the job," inmate Kenneth Coulter recalled. "He was about doing it right. Took pride in his work. He looked out for our safety."
Initial reports showed a distracted driver hit the DOC's van, then hit an ODOT truck and pinned Grey. The inmates said the immediately ran to Grey's side. Ross said he had 20 years of medical experience before entering jail. He relied on his experience as he looked at Grey's injuries.
"I took his belt off and attempted to stop the bleeding on his leg and started administering CPR," Ross said.
Grey passed out, the inmates recalled, then he regained consciousness. His next words would prove to be some of his last.
"It was all about his family, he was talking about his kids," Coulter said. "We asked if he knew their names. Trying to make sure he was coherent."
Lemons said the inmates gave Grey a chance to survive.
"If those guys wouldn't have been there with me to help me, I couldn't have done it by myself," Lemons said. "It was really a team effort."
Grey would later be pronounced dead at the hospital.
"I would have them add 5 years more onto my sentence if it could change the outcome, take away the wreck," Coulter said.
The inmates agree they simply tried to do the right thing, during a tragic moment.
"Just because we are in here, don't mean we are all bad," Cory McCarroll said. "But at the same time you got some people that are going to do what they think is right. We did what we thought was right."
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