Good Samaritan helps driver walk away from fiery crash in Westport

It happened on Newtown Turnpike Thursday night when a car veered off the road 20 feet into the woods and hit a utility pole.

Marissa Alter

Jun 16, 2023, 10:22 PM

Updated 339 days ago


A 69-year-old driver walked away from a fiery crash thanks to a good Samaritan, according to Westport fire officials.
It happened on Newtown Turnpike Thursday night when a car veered off the road 20 feet into the woods and hit a utility pole.
“My family and I—we were inside. We were just getting ready to watch a movie, and we heard a loud clap—like thunder sound,” said Nick Sadler, who lives next to the crash site. “As I approached the car, I could see under the hood that there was a small flame that had started and the gentleman was trying to get out of the car, and he was looking very disoriented, so at that point, I started to try to help him get out of the ditch, out of the woods.”
Sadler told his wife to call 911 and got the driver to a safe place on the other side of the road before the whole car went up in flames. He said a woman who was driving by pulled over to help, and then they just waited for first responders to arrive.
“We secured the area until Eversource response crews showed up, deenergized the utility poles so we could put the fire out,” Westport Fire Department Chief Nick Marsan told News 12.
He said the driver was evaluated by EMS on scene and did not need transport for medical care.
“Miraculous. He owes a lot to some good Samaritans on scene, some nearby residents who helped the occupant out of the car,” Marsan said.
Sadler brushed off the notion that he did anything heroic. “I think anybody who would see that situation would certainly go and help somebody in that situation,” Sadler stated. “I've very grateful that the gentleman was wearing his seatbelt because I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if he hadn't and that we were able to get him safely out of the car. I'm just glad that we were home.”
Police are investigating the crash but have not released a cause. The driver told people on scene he thought he had a tire blowout.
Marsan also wanted to remind people that in the event of a crash with a utility pole, wait for trained professionals to tell you when it’s safe to leave the vehicle. He said only leave before then if the car is on fire. In that event, Marsan said there is a safe way to exit the vehicle.
“Never touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Instead, open the door, rotate your body until you are facing out, put both feet on the running board, hop out of the vehicle, landing both feet on the ground at the same time. Do not touch the car with your hands or arms as you jump. Keep your arms down by your side. After you exit the vehicle, hop or shuffle to get away. Separating your feet can create two contact points with the ground and can result in a shock if the ground is energized by a fallen wire. Hop or shuffle away until you are at least 35 feet (about the length of a bus) from the vehicle and any downed power lines. When hopping, keep your feet together. Don't lift a foot to run or walk. When shuffling, keep both feet as close together as you can while sliding your feet in tiny steps. Never lift a foot from the ground," Marsan said.

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