Reporting Anjali Hemphill
CARMICHAEL (CBS13) – A horrific car crash in Carmichael left a person unconscious and trapped, until a stranger stepped in and risked his own life to save the driver.
The hero says he was just doing what anyone else would have done after hearing the collision around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
Howard Johnson says the man he pulled out of the car had a large gash across his head and was covered in blood.
The driver is still recovering at the hospital from his injuries, but they would have been much worse if Johnson hadn’t taken action so quickly.
“It sounded like a train wreck,” one neighbor said.
Cellphone pictures taken at the scene show a horrific crash involving two cars, leaving one victim trapped.
“Just reacted, soon as I heard the crash and saw the smoke, I just immediately jumped the fence to help,” said Johnson.
The crash happened in the intersection of Bell and Norwood Avenues just outside Johnson’s apartment complex. The impact knocked the driver out cold as his engine started smoking.
“He was unconscious when I got to the vehicle, and all the doors were locked. So we had to break the windows to get him out,” said Johnson.
He says several neighbors saw the crash but were in too much shock to even react at first.
“He kept hollering for a rock, ‘gimme a rock,’ cause he couldn’t open the door,” a neighbor said.
Eventually somebody handed Johnson a hammer, which he used to smash the window and unlock the door.
“Right when I got the door open to pull him out is when it caught on fire,” said Johnson.
Risking his own life, Johnson pulled the man to safety.
“I would have done it for anybody,” he said. “Hopefully somebody would do the same for me.”
Johnson says what he did just came naturally, but others at the scene know heroes like him are hard to come by.
“He’s our angel,” a neighbor said.
Johnson has no previous medical or rescue training, and says it was simply his adrenaline that kicked in.
He says a father and his 8-year-old son were in the other car, but neither of them were seriously hurt.