CHICAGO (CBS) —  A Metra train plowed into a car on the tracks near Grace and St. Charles in Lombard Monday night but not before three men grabbed a 96-year-old woman off the tracks.

The driver of the car is OK thanks to the help of some Good Samaritans. A 96-year-old woman lost control and drove onto the tracks. That’s when a 19-year-old who happened to be driving by sprang into action.

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“I always pass the same intersection,” Justin Mueller said. “As I’m crossing the tracks I see out of the corner of my eye a car that was awkwardly parked on the track, half on half off. I knew something was wrong.”

Moments before the violent impact, Mueller, Steve Spapperi and Lombard Police Patrol Officer Dan Herrera made the split-second decision to try to save Antoinette Lazarra, the woman behind the wheel.

“She seemed confused, and she was having trouble walking. She couldn’t do it with her cane, so we picked her up and we carried her,” Mueller said.

“We see a light from a train coming in our direction,” Herrera said. “We kind of start trying to move her a little bit quicker.”

“So we picked the old lady up and we got to the sidewalk just as the guardrails were going down,” said Steve Spapperi. “Probably about five to 10 seconds later that’s when the train hit the car. I put my arms around her and picked her up. I’m proud of myself because me and the other guy actually saved a life.”

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“I totally commend those Good Samaritans. They are heroes in my book,” Herrera said. “They were at her vehicle before I was even there.”

“Finally that action hero you always dreamed of as a kid,” Mueller said. “An ordinary guy who was in a situation where I got to step in.”

Lazarra’s son took to social media to thank the good Samaritans for what they did.

Lazarra was disoriented but otherwise OK and taken to the hospital for tests. She has since been released and is expected to be OK.


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Charlie De Mar