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SAN BERNARDINO: Samaritan rescues three from fiery highway crash

Duque Law - Personal Injury Lawyers

SAN BERNARDINO: Samaritan rescues three from fiery highway crash

A Toyota Camry went soaring off Highway 210 in San Bernardino, spiraling onto it’s hood where it eventually came to rest near the intersection of Highland Avenue.

PATRICK O’NEILL, STAFF PHOTO

Luis Gallegos watched in awe as a black Toyota Camry went soaring off Highway 210 in San Bernardino, spiraling onto its hood where it eventually came to rest near the intersection of Highland Avenue.

Gallegos, a 45-year-old San Bernardino resident, was waiting for his daughter at a gas station across the street when he jumped into action.

He retold the story while wiping his muddied hands with a set of rags Saturday, Jan. 16, minutes after the 7:03 a.m. crash.

“I ran over to see if they were OK,” said Gallegos, who one fire official said may have saved the lives of the occupants.”It was bad. A woman was pinned in the front seat, a couple people were unconscious, bleeding.”

The car doors were mangled and inaccessible. The undercarriage had started to smoke. A man in his early 20s, injured in the crash, tried to help despite massive cuts to his face and head. After Gallegos used a metal bar from the wreckage to bust the windows and pry open a back door, the injured man helped pull a woman to safety.

“You could tell his adrenaline was pumping,” Gallegos said. “He had cuts all over. After she was out, he ran.”

San Bernardino Fire Department Capt. Steve Tracy said crews treated three people for injuries ranging from minor to critical.

The victims, two women and one man, were all between 25-35 years old, he said.

The man who fled the scene is still at large. Officers are conducting interviews with the victims at area hospitals, trying to get a description, a California Highway Patrol spokeswoman said.

As the flames grew, Gallegos shoveled dirt into the engine compartment with his hands.

Another man ran to a nearby gas station for a fire extinguisher.

“It could have been a lot worse, but these good Samaritans suppressed the fire,” Tracy said. None of the victims were wearing seat belts.

The man in critical condition sustained a massive head injury, Tracy said. Gallegos, still reeling from the unexpected events of the morning, said he’d prefer not to have his photo taken. He “was here,” so he helped.

“I don’t don’t want people thinking I’m trying to get credit for something I did,” he said.

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