Man Plows Jeep into Wrecked Vehicle to Free 2 People Trapped by Burning Car


With all the people and vehicles on the road at any given point in time, it’s likely that you either have or will experience a fender-bender at some point in your life.

Accidents have become something we almost take for granted in our day-to-day: bad traffic? Must be an accident. Freeway shut down? Must be an accident.

But if you aren’t the one directly involved in a wreck, how would you behave toward those who are, especially if it took place right in front of you?

Ralph Gilles of Addison Township, Michigan, answered that question recently when his actions proved just what he would do in such a tricky situation. And it was no little run-in involving scuffed paint jobs or broken safety glass.

He and his wife were driving one night when he saw a Ford Edge hit a Ford Fiesta head-on. Being the first on the scene, he pulled over and got out to help.

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The man who had been driving the Edge (who also later admitted to driving under the influence) was able to get out of his car, but when he and Gilles tried to open the doors on the Fiesta, they realized they were crimped shut.

On top of them being stuck, Gilles could detect the smell of leaking auto fluids, and he knew what that could mean. He quickly realized that “this thing is a Roman candle waiting to happen.”

As they tried to figure out how to extricate the couple in the Fiesta, another car passing hit the Fiesta, pinning the couple’s car between itself and the Edge.

The couple in the car had now endured two separate impacts, and the situation was steadily getting worse — the Ford Edge had caught on fire, and since it was touching the pinned car, it was only a matter of time before the entire scene went up in a blaze with the two people still trapped inside.

“I figured the fire department would take a while to get there,” Gilles later said. “I had to do something fast.”

Fortunately, Gilles had chosen to drive his Jeep Wrangler that day instead of his Dodge Charger, and for some reason that he still can’t explain, a crazy idea popped into his head.

Why not just use the Jeep to plow into the flaming Ford Edge and push it away from the people trapped in their Fiesta?

So he did just that.

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A long and sad night a week ago I will never forget. By now many of you have read the story. We were first on the scene. I am NOT a hero, I think most people would have tried to help somehow. Understanding cars and their limitations may have played a factor sure. What ultimately turned out to be a 2 hour ordeal for us as we filled out Police reports, gave us a unique view of the whole process. It made us appreciate the true heroes. The first responders, Firemen/women, EMS and Police who deal with this stuff everyday day. It also made Doris and I realize how life can change in moments. Had I been standing in between the two crashed cars as I was just moments prior to the third car arriving. I likely would be part of history. Lets all drive heads up all the time. My deepest condolences to the family of the woman who sadly passed away at the hospital.

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“I still have no idea where that came from,” said Gilles. “The only thing I can remember thinking (is) I’ve got a Jeep, it’s got a bumper on it, I think I can do this. All I could think about were the two people still inside the other car.”

He managed to shove the burning car to the shoulder, far enough away from the other involved vehicles that they would not immediately catch. He later posted footage of the accident, rejecting the title of hero and mentioning that the woman in the Ford Fiesta had passed away as a result of the incident.

But if it hadn’t been for Gilles, his providential car choice, and the idea that just popped into his head, the man in the car could have died, too. He definitely put in a hero’s efforts, despite waving away the title.

“Just saw all the kind words about last weekends sad events,” Gilles later posted on social media. “I am no hero just was there at a critical time. Thank you all for the kind words. Respect to all the true daily heroes our first responders!”

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