A fiery crash in Bartonville sends a 25-year-old man to the burn unit in Springfield. It happened Sunday night around 10 p.m. in the 1400 block of S. Lafayette Avenue.
The trapped driver was pulled from his mangled and engulfed pick-up truck by two police officers. Officers John Mobeck and Matt Schumm received praise for saving the driver’s life, but Police Chief Brian Fengel said it wasn’t just the officers who are responsible for the rescue.
“A lot of people need credit, not just the officers. The firemen, the neighbors who called and tried to do something,” said Fengel. Chief Fengel was at the scene after the flames were knocked down. He said a neighbor showed him the video of the fire and officers later told him the “…flames were 20 feet high.”
“I just couldn’t believe it. After seeing the video I was like ‘oh my god.’ And looking at the car… you wonder how anybody can survive,” explained Fengel. “Someone was looking out for all of them that night.”
The officers said it took them three attempts to pull the man from the burning vehicle. They used a fire extinguisher to gain access near the passenger side. Their uniforms were damaged and parts of their flashlights melted. Both only suffered minor scrapes and scratches and were treated at the scene. The chief called it a ‘great’ risk.
The investigation is still in its preliminary stage. Investigators combed through the charred truck to collect evidence. The driver is recovering from burn injuries and possible broken bones.
Chief Fengel says they are not releasing the man’s name at this time and are still waiting on toxicology results. Speed appears to be a factor in the crash.