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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Watch: Good Samaritans Pull Elderly Couple from Wreck as Flames Consume Vehicle

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Ken and Joan Williamson of Phoenix were enjoying their Labor Day weekend by traveling to San Diego — a vacation that could have been their last.

At around 4:30 p.m. on Monday, they were allegedly hit from behind while driving on I-8, and their Toyota caught on fire.

As the car was consumed by the blaze with the elderly Williamsons still inside, a total of five good Samaritans stopped to help.

Jeff Lucas, Harry Hemphill, Andre Leggett, Scott Andre and a man identified only as Barry — all from the East County Transitional Living Center — quickly approached the burning vehicle.

Though they’d been on the opposite side of the freeway, they pulled over and ran across lanes of oncoming traffic to help the trapped couple. Marie Macrorie caught the heart-stopping rescue on camera.

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“Ran over there,” Hemphill said, according to WDJB-TV. “A couple of guys grabbed the wife, and the other two grabbed the husband, who was driving.”

“It happened so fast, you know,” Lucas said. “We just reacted immediately.”

“Even we didn’t even realize there was somebody in the passenger seat. That’s how much smoke was in the car.”

“We just saw this guy, and he’s stuck in his seat belt,” Leggett added, “so we kind of snatched open the door and unbuckled the seat belt, and my buddy, Barry, snatched him out of the car.”

If these brave men hadn’t acted immediately, the couple likely would have perished. Joan came away with minor injuries, though Barry and Ken suffered burns. The three are recovering in the hospital.

Mark and Steve Williamson are eternally grateful to the heroes who rescued their parents that afternoon.

“Everyone that saw that video knows that if those people did not pull them out, we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now, so I can’t thank them enough,” Mark said.

“Our dad had some burns to his left side,” Steve added. “My mom got out with just abrasions.”

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While the good Samaritans are being recognized for their selfless actions, one took the opportunity to give credit to God, and another thanked the ECTLC for changing lives and hearts.

“I’m glad they’re OK,” Andre said. “Yeah, I’m glad God took care of them, you know, and hopefully they’ll be OK.”

“There was a time when, like so many, I would have — we would have kept driving,” Hemphill admitted. “But because of programs like ECTLC, we’re — I’m changing, and in that change, now we’re able to not just be selfish individuals but look out for others.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking