Inmate with broken leg, cracked ribs saves tornado victims at candle factory, then turns himself in to police

Marco Sanchez was one several Graves County jail inmates who were working inside the Mayfield candle factory when a tornado ripped through the area last December.

Despite suffering severe injuries, Sanchez was able to free himself and then help others escape the pile of rubble.

This week he was honored for not only “quite possibly saving human lives,” but also turning himself back in to police after receiving treatment for his injuries.

Sanchez was working at the Kentucky candle factory on December 10 with six other inmates as part of an agreement between the jail and factory. When the tornado struck, the candle factory collapsed trapping dozens of employees inside.

He suffered a broken leg and cracked ribs, but somehow managed to escape.

“Mr. Sanchez after freeing himself, with a broken leg and cracked ribs, unselfishly went and found tools and other items and returned and re-entered the rubble,” Graves County Sheriff Jon Hayden said in a Facebook post.

After rescuing others, he received treatment for his injuries at a hospital. Once he was released he approached a state trooper and alerted him that he was an inmate and needed to be taken into custody.

The trooper reportedly told him he wasn’t able to at the moment, plus the jail had been destroyed.

So Sanchez took a shuttle bus to a shelter where he was put in contact with jail staff. He was then placed back in custoday.

Weeks after the deadly tornado, Hayden became aware of an inmate who supposedly saved lives at the candle factory. He dug for some more information and learned that inmate was Sanchez. His sentencing judge was made aware of the situation and a hearing took place.

During the hearing it was discovered Sanchez only had 14 days left to serve, and rather than receive a shock probation, he chose to finish out his sentence.

He is scheduled to be released on March 1.

The Graves County Sheriff’s Office has said they will share information on how to help Sanchez once he’s released.

“We hope someone will take a chance on him and give him an opportunity to start a new life,” the sheriff wrote. “He is a hard worker, as he has been assisting county government in moving offices since the tornado, and he is a very humble man. We wish him the best and applaud him for his sense of humanity.”

According to the Lexington Herald Ledger, Sanchez and the other six inmates survived. One other inmate who was treated at a hospital and walked away later turned himself in. Unfortunately, Robert Daniel, the deputy who was overseeing the inmates, did not survive.

I have so much respect for Marco. Not everyone would do what he did!

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