• Good Samaritan recalls rescuing man from burning truck in Jacksonville

    By: Russell Colburn , Action News Jax


    A fiery crash in downtown Jacksonville Friday afternoon sent a driver to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

    Action News Jax spoke exclusively with David Wheeler, one of the good Samaritans who said he pulled that man from his truck just before it exploded.

    “Our eyes are locked and he's just looking like, ‘Man don't quit!’ That look of just, ‘Get me out of here, get me out!'” Wheeler said, recalling the rescue.

    The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said a Honda Civic and Chevrolet truck pulling a trailer collided in the intersection of North Ocean and East Beaver streets.  

    Police said the impact redirected the truck into a light pole, where it caught fire.

    “It actually sounded like the vehicle dropped out of the sky,” Wheeler said. "It hit so hard.”

    The Civic driver and the truck's passenger got out, but the driver of the truck was stuck with flames all around him.

    “We're trying to pull him out and he's burning, it's engulfed in flames, we're watching him burn,” Wheeler said. “You can hear him burning, you could smell him burning, it was just really intense.”

    Wheeler said he wasn't alone.

    “The guy next to me, Tim, had his other arm and we're just like yelling at each other, ‘Pull! Pull!” Wheeler said.

    Wheeler said it seemed like forever, but they finally got the man out.

    “[I’m] just talking to him, trying to get his age, keep telling him, ‘Look at me, brother! Hold on buddy! Just focus on me, and hear the sirens, people are coming to help you! Just hang in there!'” Wheeler said.

    This good Samaritan doesn't want any praise.

    “I did what we're supposed to do,” Wheeler said. “This is what we're supposed to do when someone is in a desperate situation, you need to help them.”

    “I don't know if I could live with myself if I stood there and watched somebody burn,” Wheeler added.

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