Good Samaritans helped save the lives of an elderly California couple who were inside a burning car along the highway.
The five men from East County Transitional Living Center in El Cajon, saw the couple’s car on fire along Interstate 8 in Lakeside. “It happened so fast, we just reacted immediately,” said Jeff Lucas.
“There was someone needing our help, and there was no one there to help, so we are thinking ‘wow, this is going to explode soon,’ as the fire was near the gas tank,” he added.
Ken and Joan Williamson, both in their 90s were vacationing in San Diego from Phoenix over the Labor Day holiday. The couple’s son said his parents’ car caught on fire after it was rear-ended.
“Everyone who saw that video knows that if those people did not pull my parents out, we would not be having this discussion right now, so I can’t thank them enough. I just want them to know that they saved two absolutely beautiful people, and we would love to have information to thank him personally,” said Mark Williamson.
There was thick smoke inside the car that prevented the men from knowing how many were trapped inside. “We just saw this guy, and he is stuck in his seatbelt, so we kind of snatched open the door, and unbuckled the seatbelt. My buddy Barry snatched him out of the car and carried him to the side of the road,” said Andre Leggett.
“I saw how big the flames were,” Henry Hemphill said. “I realized a few more seconds maybe we may have been too late.” The brave men are residents at a facility that offers temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness.
Hemphill said that if the incident happened a year ago, he would have probably kept driving instead of stopping to help. “I was so wrapped up in myself and had my own agenda,” he said. “Here at this program, I’ve changed. We have all changed.”
Hemphill and Leggett said they would help again if the incident happened the second time with the couple. “I’ve struggled with my own issues in my life,” Leggett admitted to the station. “I’ve been a very self-centered person for a majority of my life and I would just want somebody else to do that for my mom, for my father.”
“I am glad that they are okay and glad that God took care of them and hopefully they will be okay,” said Scott Andre. Williamson said his dad had some burns on his left side and his mother had a few abrasions.
“We are just so grateful. These guys are heroes to us and to our parents for stepping up immediately, and that is phenomenal,” Williamson said.