A state trooper freed a screaming woman and child from a “mangled” car this week — just as the vehicle burst into flames, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
The 23-year-old woman and 5-year-old survived and were taken to a hospital, officials said in a news release.
The driver died at the scene and remained stuck in the car as it burned. He was identified as 27-year-old Andre Darrell Lee of Grover, South Carolina, officials said
State Trooper K. L. Huss is credited with saving the woman and child, after the car crashed through a guardrail while “in excess of 130 mph,” officials said.
It happened around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, on U.S. 321 in the Newton area of Catawba County. Newton is about 40 miles northwest of uptown Charlotte.
Huss reported he was on patrol in the area when he “clocked” a 2020 Dodge Charger going 100 mph in a 65-mph zone, officials said.
The vehicle had accelerated “in excess of 130 mph” and was “not in sight of the trooper” when the driver lost control, officials said. The Ford “ran off the road to the right, crashed through a guardrail, went down an embankment, collided with a tree, and had begun to catch fire,” officials said.
“Huss immediately ran down the embankment, determined the driver was unconscious or possibly deceased while discovering a small child and woman were trapped in the wreckage and screaming for help,” officials said.
“Trooper Huss freed the child from the mangled car and handed the child to a bystander who assisted in moving the boy to a safer area. The car was smoking heavily. Without regard for his safety, Trooper Huss returned, crawled into the car, cut the woman free, and pulled her into the rear of the car. As he pulled her out the back window and to safety, the car became engulfed in flames.”
Huss was not able to get the driver out, the release said.
An ambulance took the woman and child to Catawba Valley Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, officials said. Both are from Grover, S.C., officials said.
“The child was later transferred to Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem for observation,” officials said.
Investigators say the child was found secured “in a booster seat” in the backseat. The woman was in the front seat and was wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash, officials said.