Columbus woman pulled from fiery crash by good Samaritans


COLUMBUS, Ind. (WTHR) - Good Samaritans came to the rescue of a Columbus woman Tuesday evening, who was unconscious in a locked car, after a fiery crash that firefighters say could have been deadly.

The four strangers were in the right place at the right time and saved a life.

"It's blowing up! It just exploded!”

Those were the frantic words from someone who called 911 after a car burst into flames along Herman Darlage Dr. near Fair Oaks Mall in Columbus.

Mere moments before that happened, young heroes sensed the danger and took action.

Matt Luttrell and a couple buddies had just pulled into the Steak N Shake for dinner.

"We ran through this little field to get here,” Luttrell explained. "We saw the smoke coming from the car tire."

Lane Richie, a Hauser High School student, was at the restaurant, too.

"We saw there was smoke and we take off running,” Richie explained.

A total of four strangers worked together to save Robert Trueblood's wife, Timberly.

"Our Lord and Savior works in mysterious ways,” Trueblood said. “I'm thankful for the bystanders that came by, you know, I can't thank them enough."

His wife had a medical scare Tuesday evening while driving home from work, went off the road, and crashed onto the sidewalk and into a tree.

Doctors are still trying to determine what caused her to lose consciousness.

"You could see the tire marks where she crossed over and crashed into the tree,” Luttrell pointed out. “She was unconscious in the car."

A second person called 911 to alert emergency responders of the danger.

"Their foot is still clearly on the accelerator,” they said.

Dispatcher: “So they're still in the car?”

Caller: “They're trying to get them out now. They're passed out."

That crash caused a spark, smoke and eventually, an explosion.

"The tire blows and catches on fire, catches the grass on fire and of course, it’s right underneath the gas tank,” Richie explained.

"That's when we knew we had to get her out. We asked anybody in the crowd if they had a tire iron to break the glass and we did it and carefully pulled her out,” Luttrell added. "The firefighter said she would have burned to death in the car."

But Trueblood survived and is recovering in the hospital, thanks to young men she never knew.

"I don’t remember any of it, not until I’m in the emergency room. Those boys - their parents taught them well and when I see them I will thank them,” Trueblood said through tears.

The whole rescue made the local paper.

And it turns out, this isn't the first time Timberly Trueblood has been on the front page.

She made news a few years ago, for rescuing a young four-year-old neighbor.

“Our neighbor, their littlest one had choked on a hot dog and I did the Heimlich maneuver on him," she explained.

A life saver, now saved herself, by heroes who saw a need and had to help.

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