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Bismarck Tribune Award winner, Dan Vega.

Dwight Driscoll and his wife, Lucy, were at a memorial for their son’s girlfriend’s parents when a man asked if the seat next to them was taken.

The service was for Elizabeth and Clyde Howe, who died a year ago in a house explosion north of Mandan. Elizabeth Howe’s 18-year-old daughter, Elianna Vazquez, survived the explosion despite serious injuries from which she would later recover.

Dan Vega saved her life, hopping in his truck after hearing something in the night, Dwight Driscoll said.

Meeting him for the only time at the Howes’ memorial, Driscoll said Vega also saw Vazquez for the first time since he had rescued her from the rubble. Vega had been worried he may have damaged her spine by picking her up and placing her in his vehicle.

“He was relieved to know and we reassured him that was anything but the case, that he had saved her life,” Driscoll said.

“The only way I can summarize what little I know about him is I sure wouldn’t mind having a neighbor like that. I’d be happy to have a neighbor like that," he said.

Vega’s wife, Kim, agreed. She said her husband is there to help and quick to lend a hand.

“I know my husband wasn’t going to let that extremely loud noise go uninvestigated," she said. "He was meant to be there to help.”  

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or


Crime and Courts Reporter