Driver pulled from fiery SUV crash by police, good Samaritans

'I grabbed a shovel and smashed open the back window, and we were able to get the guy out'

Dylan Stableford
Yahoo News

Tribune

Driver Survives Huge Car Fire Thanks To Good Samaritan

Driver Survives Huge Car Fire Thanks To Good Samaritan

Driver Survives Huge Car Fire Thanks To Good Samaritan

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Driver Survives Huge Car Fire Thanks To Good Samaritan

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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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