Good Samaritans Rescue Man Trapped in Burning Car

A witness caught the daring rescue on video.

December 20, 2016, 12:14 PM

— -- A group of Good Samaritans helped rescue a man trapped inside a burning car off a highway in Pearland, Texas, this weekend, according to police.

The man, who has not been identified, had been traveling northbound on State Highway 288 on Sunday morning, when his car suddenly slid across the freeway, veered off the road and struck a tree, bursting into flames, said Officer Jason Wells, public information officer for the Pearland Police Department.

A handful of motorists on the highway immediately pulled over and helped drag the man out of the car just before law enforcement arrived on scene, Wells told ABC News today.

"If it weren't for these people, this could have been catastrophic," Wells said. "The gentleman had significant injuries and would not have been able to get out of the car on his own."

Most of the rescuers left before police were able to get their names, Wells said. However, ABC station KTRK in Houston was able to track down one of them: Nick Villalona.

Villalona told KTRK that he "was just doing the right thing at the right time."

Villalona said he drove right up to car after seeing the flames and smoke. He said that he "ran right up there and tried to pull on the door a couple of times," but it appeared to be locked.

Fortunately, another bystander on the scene had a wooden club, which Villalona then used to break open the driver's side window, he said.

"I just swung for the fences," he said. When the glass finally shattered, Villanova and a handful of other people were able to get a hold of the driver and pull him out, KTRK reported.

A witness recorded the daring rescue on video and shared it with KTRK.

One of the Good Samaritans seen wearing a yellow jumpsuit in the video appears to be an off-duty sheriff's deputy, Wells said.

"I was very happy to see that these motorists went out of their way to stop and assist this man," Wells said. "But I will say that it's not uncommon for people in this area to go out of their way to help others. It's what people here do."

By the time police arrived on the scene, the vehicle was "engulfed in flames," Wells said. Local firefighters responded and helped extinguish the blaze, he added.

Medics also responded and transported the man to a nearby hospital, Wells said. The man broke a few bones but is expected to be OK, he said.

Authorities are still investigating what caused the man to slide across the freeway and what caused a fire to break out after he crashed, Wells said.