Woman Honored for Saving Teen From Burning Car

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WESTFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A teen was trapped in a burning car, and a woman driving by put her own life at risk to save his.

Thursday, she was honored for her lifesaving actions.

Had it not been for 52-year-old Debra Stitt, the outcome would have been much worse.

"I saw a car on the side of the road and I saw flames coming out of the front of it, and then I noticed there was movement inside, so I knew someone was still inside the car," said Stitt.

Just before 10:00 a.m. on March 25, Stitt was driving on Seville Road in Medina County's Westfield Township, on her way to the grocery store. That's when she saw a 2006 Kia Spectra that had gone off the side of the road and hit a large rock. The 18-year-old driver was trapped inside.

"I ran to the passenger side because the fire was on the driver's side and I said, 'Are you stuck?' and he said, 'Yes,' so I tried to open the door, couldn't get that door open, ran around to the driver's side door, couldn't get that open, so I just pulled as hard as I could, finally got the door open," Stitt said.

She says she reached into the burning car, grabbed the teen and dragged him to safety.

"He was just confused and hurt and in a lot of pain ... didn't want me to move him, but I just said, 'Honey, I gotta move you or you're gonna burn up because the car's on fire,' " she explained.

"She knew somebody was in need and she just acted; she just put her own life at risk, and she saved someone's life, and that's why we think it's an extraordinary story," said Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Haymaker.

Thursday afternoon, Stitt's courage was recognized by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, as well as Ohio State representative David Hall and Speaker of the House William Batchelder. Each presented her with a plague, showing their appreciation.

The 18-year-old driver, who was seriously injured, did not want to be identified.  But he and his family attended the ceremony and gave Stitt a bouquet of flowers.

"He didn't know if it was just by luck that Debra was passing by or if there was some type of divine intervention," said Haymaker.

"He seems like he's doing really well; he looks so much better than he did that day. I was more than happy to accept the award," said Stitt.

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