CAROLINA BEACH — The owner of one of the Cape Fear region’s most beloved restaurants has been honored with the Carnegie Medal for a Good Samaritan act — though the deed was completely unrelated to his business, Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn.
Two years ago, Jay Muxworthy was a bystander near Snow’s Cut Park, where a white SUV had crashed. The SUV caught on fire, with two young children in the back seat. An investigation later revealed the 29-year-old driver, Melissa Henderson, was likely using opioids prior to the crash.
Multiple witnesses saw Henderson, the children’s mother, driving recklessly down River Road. She did not have a valid North Carolina drivers’ license and was already under investigation by the Department of Social Services for drug-related issues.
Muxworthy, alongside Georgia resident Joshua Wright, approached the flaming vehicle and attempted to pull the children out. Wright reached the middle of the SUV after climbing through an opening at the back windshield and was able to pass two-year-old Jacquelyn Andrews to a bystander.
Other bystanders pried open a car door, where Muxworthy entered the SUV and attempted to free 13-month-old James Andrews III from the flames. He was forced to withdraw due to the fiery condition of the vehicle, and sustained serious burns. James, stuck in a car seat, did not survive.
On Tuesday, both Wright and Muxworthy were honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission for their brave acts during the 2016 event. Only 18 medals across the United States were awarded this year for “extraordinary acts of heroism.”
Carnegie Medals, according to the commission, are given to people who “risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.”
After the event, Muxworthy, Henderson and two-year-old Jacquelyn were all transported to Chapel Hill for medical attention. Jacquelyn was not burned, Henderson was treated in the hospital’s burn unit, and Muxworthy sustained serious injuries.
He continued treatment for several months after the accident.