SAN DIEGO – A retired Customs and Border Protection officer and a Marine helped save a man from a burning car on a California interstate late Thursday morning.
Witnesses said a white sedan swerved across lanes, colliding with a work truck and coming to a rest in the right two southbound lanes of Interstate 805 shortly after 11 a.m.
Tyrone Crawford said he drove by moments after the accident. Crawford, a retired CBP officer, said he noticed the car was smoking and that an “elderly gentleman” in the sedan wasn’t making any attempt to escape. Crawford and another man, who he said was a Marine, rushed to the car, unbuckled the man and pulled him from the driver’s seat before the car caught fire.
“We had to unbuckle him and literally carry him out of the car because he could not move,” Crawford said. “We took care of him.”
Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames, and paramedics were seen loading a man onto a stretcher and into an ambulance.
Officials said the driver of the white sedan was a 65-year-old man from Tijuana. He was taken to UCSD Medical Center with major but non-life threatening injuries. A California Highway Patrol officer said the driver suffered several spinal fractures but was in stable condition.
The pickup driver was unhurt, and the cause of the crash is still under investigation.