Father, sons credited with helping save woman stuck on railroad tracks in Germantown


GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — An 84-year-old woman says she’s grateful to a man and his sons after they likely saved her life at a Germantown railroad crossing.

Lutie Darnell says she was turning right onto Poplar Pike from West Street around 9 p.m. June 21, but turned too sharply and got stuck on the tracks.

“Unbeknownst to me a train was coming,” she said. “I don’t remember hearing a signal or seeing a signal.”

Thankfully, George Kohlbacher and his sons Jonas and Joshua spotted Darnell as they were also turning onto Poplar Pike. 

“We saw the train and the thought that went across my mind was, we got to get her out of there right now,” Jonas said.

Jonas and Joshua carried Darnell to safety. 

“They got me out of the car, and got me just out of the car when the train hit the back of it,” Darnell said. “Really at risk of their life they came up there. I just can’t commend them enough.”

Germantown Police commended them too, by honoring George, 13-year-old Jonas and 15-year-old Joshua with Civilian Service Awards during a Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Monday night.

“It was surreal and it was humbling to see people who are, by all accounts, heroes and they’re like, ‘You’re a hero,'” Joshua said.

The incident happened in June, but more than a month later, the rescuers feel like it was yesterday.

“We were just glad to be in the right place at the right time,” George said.

“My three guardian angels,” Darnell said.

The two young boys say they’re humbled by the awards they were given and say they were excited to meet the mayor.

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