Retired trooper, family he saved celebrate life 46 years after horrible accident

Posted at 7:48 PM, Jul 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-05 19:48:28-04

PONTIAC, IL (WMBD/CNN) -  On July 4, 1971, Illinois state trooper Al Lindsey responded to a call about an accident.  A mother, Goldie Gillispie-Tracy, had wrecked a station wagon, and suffered a broken neck.

One of her daughters had her right arm severed during the rollover crash.  

“The car is upside down in the median strip and there's three little girls lying there,” Lindsey remembered. Lindsey and the other troopers helped the wounded and drove the ambulance to the hospital. That’s the last the rescuers saw of the family. 

“I've always wondered about her and how her life had turned out." Lindsey said of the baby who lost her arm.

The baby grew into an adult and wanted to thank the officers who helped save her family. About 10 years ago, after almost giving up on finding men she didn’t know, Dalene Valentine made a call to a local trooper office Lindsey just happened to be visiting. 

"It was the craziest reunion, I mean so full of hugs." Valentine told WMBD. "Had he not been there then I wouldn't be here. My kids for sure wouldn't be here, so yeah that's definitely a hero in my opinion."

Since that reunion, Lindsey, now retired, and the family he helped rescue have become close. More than four decades after the accident, they shared July 4 together.

Gillispie-Tracy says there is just no way that she and her family can thank the officers enough. "We thought about giving him a plaque but there's not enough adjectives to describe what we're feeling, or a wall big enough to put the plaque on,” she said. 

A humble Lindsey says he was just doing his job on that day 46 years ago.  

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