A Long Island man whose SUV crashed into a tree and burst into flames survived after being pulled through a window by police and a pair of quick-thinking good Samaritans.
The crash happened about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Suffolk County Police said. The driver, 34-year-old Brad Claus, was stuck inside the burning 2013 Ford Explorer.
Another driver, T.J. Zelezny, stopped when he saw the car and called police.
"As I was on the phone with 911, I saw it start to [catch] fire," Zelezny told WABC-TV. "Another gentleman stopped, and he was banging on the car with me."
Dennis O'Connor, a Suffolk County police officer, arrived on the scene, and the three men worked frantically to get Claus out as flames engulfed the car.
"[We] were having trouble getting the guy out, so I grabbed a shovel and smashed open the back window, and we were able to get the guy out through the back," Zelezny said. "It was just instinct, I guess. I mean, I would want someone else to help me out if I was in there. So it was my good deed for the day."
Claus was taken to a local hospital, treated and released.
"I was just glad the guy was alive, and we got him out," Zelezny added.
The crash is under investigation, police said.
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