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CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — For two U.S. soldiers and a and a South Korean counterpart, duty went beyond the needs of U.S. servicemembers and into the local community recently.

Spc. John Plaia of the 557th Military Police Company, and Sgt. Fitho Simplice of the 348th Quartermaster Company were wrapping up an accident report involving a soldier and heading back to post on Feb. 28, when a small van flipped through the air and came to rest on its top.

The driver of the skinny Daewoo van was trying to pass traffic on the right when a big truck cut him off, running him into the curb on Highway 39 at about 3 p.m. in Hyeonju-ri. The van took flight and landed upside down on the sidewalk.

It wasn’t a servicemember’s van, but the soldiers say they weren’t just going to ignore the accident.

“He didn’t really move while we were running toward the vehicle,” Plaia said. “It looked like it hurt him pretty bad.”

The right tire broke off from the axle and unidentified fluid began leaking from the undercarriage, Plaia said.

Plaia and Simplice got the door open and pulled the man out of the van, while South Korean augmentee Pfc. Park K.M. told the man to lie still.

To their surprise, the slightly built South Korean man suffered few injuries beyond cuts and bruises. A larger man may have taken more of the impact, Simplice said.

“It was scary. If somebody like myself was in that tiny little van, I’d probably be dead,” Simplice said.

Korean National Police took over the case from there and had the car towed. The driver has since fully recovered from the crash, officials said.

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