-- A driver who lost control of his convertible on a South Carolina highway and flipped into a ditch was rescued Tuesday by strangers who pulled over to help and were able to flip his car back over.
Today, Jonathan Janzen, the 20-year-old driver, got a chance to thank some of those Good Samaritans for going the extra distance.
"They didn't know whether the car was going to blow up and they still risked their lives to save one stranger," said Janzen, who also credited his seat belt for stopping him from being thrown from the car.
One of the rescuers, Bert Sorin of Lexington, South Carolina, was on his way to a meeting in Columbia with a co-worker when they saw the convertible careen off road at full speed and land nearly 30 yards off the interstate.
Janzen said he'd lost control of the car, at full speed, as he'd tried to grab a book from the back seat that had been blown into the air by the wind. Sorin, who was driving, slammed on the brakes and joined two other drivers who had stopped to help.
"We could smell the gas dripping off of the car and we didn't know if anyone was alive," Sorin, the owner of an exercise equipment company, told ABC News. "The four of us tried to lift up the car but we couldn't do it."
Sorin said he then drove his SUV, a Chevy Tahoe, closer to the crashed convertible and attached a tow strap from his car to the convertible's doors to try to rip them open. When the strap broke, Sorin ran back to the convertible and saw that nearly one dozen strangers had gathered to try to help.
"The more minutes passed by, the more people showed up," he said. "They were using pliers, anything, just banging at the car to try to get the guy out."
Sorin said the rescuers could hear a male in the car but had no idea what his injuries were and if there were any passengers.
The group then lined up on one side of the car and, in unison, pushed the car right side up. When the convertible was upright, Janzen walked out of the vehicle, seemingly unscathed. Janzen said he'd suffered a few small scratches.
"I think it was the surprise of our lives when we flipped him over and knew there was one guy in there," Sorin said. "He started talking immediately and I think he had a little blood on him and that was it."
"Everyone was in shock. There were people crying. There were people hugging each other," he said.
No one else was injured in the accident. Sorin, who posted video of the rescue on Facebook, said the whole rescue happened in less than eight minutes.
Emergency officials arrived on the scene less than two minutes after the driver was safely pulled from his vehicle, according to Sorin.
"We cheered and people shook hands and everyone went about their day," he said. "Everyone kind of looked at each other and said, 'You good?' and went on their way."