BATTLE GROUND, Wash. -- The community is thanking a Battle Ground tow truck driver credited with saving a teen hit by a car Monday morning.

Charlie Barrett was hitching up a car at the scene of a crash Monday morning when he heard 16-year-old Justin Carey crying for help from the brush nearby. Carey had been badly injured and was stranded for 90 minutes before Barrett arrived. During that time, police didn't know anybody had been hit.

Background: Tow driver describes faint voice, teen rescue

Barrett called 911 and Carey was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was upgraded from critical to serious condition Thursday. Both of his femurs were broken. The boy's parents said Barrett saved Carey's life.

And the community of Battle Ground agreed.

While Barrett was en route to a call Tuesday, he had to stop his truck as a group of kids ran up to greet him. He said he safely pulled over and they asked him step out so they could each give him a hug.

Barrett said when he was on his way back to the office to do some paperwork in the evening there were dozens of kids waiting for him. They gave him a poster-sized thank you card they had all signed.

And as soon as I walk through the shop door, a lady is walking out of the office door and first thing out of her mouth is, I know you. I saw you on TV. You're a hero, and I just got swamped, he said. Everybody in that shop had me pinned up against the wall wanting to know this, wanting to know that. Yeah, it was crazy.

Barrett said he hadn't talked with Carey's parents because he wanted to give them time to concentrate on their son's recovery, but it's no secret how they feel.

He saved my son's life, said Carey's mom, Janette Chumley. There is no amount of thanks in the world that could cover what he did for us.

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