ZION, Ill. (CBS) — A car accident in Zion was caught on police dash cam, as a woman screamed in pain while trapped in a burning car.
CBS 2’s Chris Tye heard from the heroic officers who saved the woman. They said what they saw in the back seat was still giving them chills days later.
A mostly charred husk was all that was left of the gray Buick Lucerne that hit a pole on Friday night, triggering a fireball that started the size of a basketball and then grew 6 feet into the air.
With their cruisers stopped, the officers’ bodycams rolled. Zion officers Steve Vines and Casey Taylor were on foot as they heard the onlookers before they saw them.
“I kept hearing one person scream: ‘She’s trapped inside! She’s trapped inside!’” Vines said.
The front hood of the car was on fire, and window-tinting film became a problem. The adhesive on the film prevented the officers from shattering the glass.
Since the accident jammed the doors, the officers scrambled to the passenger’s side window, which naturally gave way – amping up the voice of the 41-year-old Zion woman writhing in pain in her burning car.
“I heard one loud pop, I mean, to the point where it actually scared me because I thought the car was, you know, exploding,” Vines said.
There was no explosion, but in the course of 30 seconds, the job usually reserved for fire crews fell on two patrol officers who say it felt much longer.
“At least 10 minutes,” Vine said. “I mean, you know, it’s like when your adrenaline spikes that high, everything slows down.
“It’s more or less just adrenaline, trying to get her out as quickly as possible,” Taylor said.
And they do just that. They got the woman out onto some nearby grass, where seconds later fire, crews arrived. It was then that Officer Vines remembered what he saw in her backseat.
“I did notice that there was a gas can in the back seat. Her life was more important than my concentrating on that gas can at that point,” Vines said. “If it would have caught, the entire inside would have engulfed, and it’s possible that she would’ve lost her life.”
We don’t know the name of the woman rescued from this car. Police think she just confused the brake with the gas.
The police investigation was still under way Tuesday, so we do not know the woman’s condition. When we learn it we will pass it along.