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Good Samaritans rescue driver from I-25 crash seconds before car bursts into flames

Witnesses said the car was smoking as rescuers tried to pull the driver out and burst into flames seconds after the rescue.  "You heard, like, a couple loud pops and then all of a sudden the whole thing just engulfed in flames," Amanda Smith told 11 News.
Witnesses said the car was smoking as rescuers tried to pull the driver out and burst into flames seconds after the rescue. "You heard, like, a couple loud pops and then all of a sudden the whole thing just engulfed in flames," Amanda Smith told 11 News.(Arturo Jauregui)
Published: Sep. 13, 2020 at 10:19 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Heroic good Samaritans risked their own safety to rescue a driver from a fiery crash off I-25 over the weekend.

Arturo Jauregui was driving southbound on the interstate late Saturday afternoon when he saw a driver in trouble near the Interquest exit (153).

“While he was on his way down from I-25 from work, he saw a truck start to spin out and do circles, and then he stopped on the side of the road just to be sure, check out that everyone was OK,” Jauregui told 11 News through an English interpreter.

Other people had already pulled over.

“When he got down to check and see if everyone was OK, he asked the ... people who were there with him if everything was OK, and then he saw that the passenger got out. They noticed the actual driver was still in the car."

Amanda Smith said this was the moment she and her husband came upon the crash.

“As we were rounding around, I had looked over and seen a car flipped over, and so I had asked my husband to pull over because there was no emergency vehicles there. ... I saw about five people, like, hanging onto the car trying to pull this man out."

Jauregui said the group realized the driver’s seat belt was locked in place.

“For a second he didn’t feel like he was helping out at all, but the second that they told him the seat belt was stuck, that we need to cut it off, he ran up to his car, grabbed a razor blade and was able to cut it off," Jauregui said through his interpreter. “When they were pulling him out, they felt like they were hurting him more, but they told him that if we just leave him there, it could get worse.”

During the rescue, Smith noticed the car was starting to smoke.

“They were all standing, like, climbed on top of the car because it was kind of on its side, and they were, like, reaching through the window trying to pull him out of the window.”

The good Samaritans got the driver out just in time.

“Seconds later after they pulled him out, the car caught into flames," Jauregui told 11 News reporter Catherine Silver.

“Within 30 seconds after that,” Smith said.

The driver was conscious and is expected to recover.

“My husband is a nurse, so he was talking to him, trying to, you know, keep him calm. ... [The driver] was talking. He was clearly in shock, but he was completely conscious, wanting to call his dad,” Smith said.

Firefighters were about to quickly extinguish the flames, which had spread to the surrounding grass.

Smith said she was in awe of the heroism she saw that day -- people who had could have easily driven past the crash, but instead risked their own lives to save a man they didn’t know.

“If it wasn’t for them there is no way he would’ve survived.”

Jauregui still has blood on his shirt from the rescue and was taken to the hospital for concerns over carbon monoxide after inhaling so much smoke.

He told Silver he would do it all over again, no hesitation.

“If it happened again, he would do the same thing again.”

Copyright 2020 KKTV. All rights reserved.

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