CLEVELAND (WJW) — Good Samaritans pulled a driver to safety just moments before her car erupted and was engulfed in flames.
Shane Knowlton and his girlfriend, Jennifer Whitehead, were driving home after dinner Wednesday at about 9 p.m. They were traveling west on Interstate 90 in Cleveland and approaching Deadman’s Curve when they saw the accident.
“I noticed cars in front of us started swerving and then at the last second I could see flames coming from under the car,” said Knowlton.
A small sedan was dangerously sitting on the berm in the high-speed lane with smoke and flames building underneath it.
The couple quickly pulled over in the emergency lane on the northside of the highway and sprang into action.
“He’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, somebody’s cars on fire.’ He said, ‘I have to (stop)’ and I said, ‘I know.’ I barely got the car in park and he was out running across the traffic,” said Whitehead.
Knowlton could see the flames under the vehicle intensifying and sprinted across four lanes of traffic on I-90. He then reached inside the car and quickly pulled the young female driver out, with no time to explain who he was or what he was doing.
“The girl was sitting in her car and texting. She didn’t realize it was even on fire,” said Knowlton. “I just pulled her door open told her, ‘come on, we gotta go.’”
Moments later the tires blew out from the intense heat and the vehicle was entirely engulfed in flames.
The incredible video was recorded by the Elyria couple once the driver was safely in their backseat.
As Whitehead tried to comfort her and called 911, Knowlton went back to direct traffic around the vehicle until police arrived.
“She goes, ‘oh my gosh, oh my gosh, thank you’. She goes, ‘I didn’t even know my car was on fire. You saved me. I could’ve died.’ And I’m comforting her and she goes ‘can I give him a hug?’ and I said absolutely,” said Whitehead.
Knowlton never even once considered his own safety.
“No, I wasn’t concerned for my safety. I thought more about her and then once I had her to safety I thought about everybody else,” he said.
Although he doesn’t consider his actions heroic both the driver and his girlfriend disagree.
Whitehead said he always thinks of others before himself, and is always looking for ways to help people.
“That’s just the type of person he is,” she explained.
The couple even offered to drive the woman home, but police said they’d take it from there.
“I just wish more people would look out for everybody,” said Knowlton. “What if that was your family or loved ones?!”
Whether it was good timing that they arrived when they did or good luck, both Knowlton and Whitehead say the St. Patrick’s Day rescue has actually helped them too.
“He saved somebody’s life and that gave us a lot of joy because we’ve been having a really rough patch (with health and work) lately and God is good and we’re very thankful she was safe,” said Whitehead.