Motorists and truck drivers with pry bars and fire extinguishers saved the life of a Franklin man after a crash on Interstate 65.
Anthony Ingle, 27, of Franklin, was driving south on I-65 near Whiteland about 2:15 a.m. Thursday when he lost control of his car and went off the right side of the road. The car went up an embankment and hit the County Road 600N overpass before sliding back onto the interstate and catching fire, an Indiana State Police news release said.
Less than 10 minutes after the crash, Ingle’s car was engulfed in flames. He was taken to an Indianapolis hospital after being pulled from the vehicle by a group of drivers who had used fire extinguishers to keep the fire under control until Ingle could be pulled out.
Ingle was released from Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital after treatment for head injuries and burns to his knee, a hospital spokesperson said.
“We’re glad to see the public was able to assist and help out,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers said.
Ingle’s car was spotted first by Anthony Brown, of Louisville, Ky., who was driving home with his business partner, Dave Hauck, after working a construction job in Michigan City. As they approached Whiteland, they saw Ingle’s car on the side of the road, with a small fire in the engine compartment.
Brown and Hauck pulled over and found Ingle was conscious. They could get the driver side door open, but Ingle was pinned in the car by the vehicle’s front end. Brown called 911, and Hauck walked along the interstate, trying to flag down a semitrailer rig.
“We knew that all truckers have to have fire extinguishers,” Brown said.
The first truck driver to stop was Tony Linton of Floyds Knobs, who drives for UPS. Linton saw Hauck waving, but before that he saw brake lights starting to light up along the highway. That’s when he noticed the fire along the side of the road.
“When you’re driving in the middle of the night and you see brake lights come on everywhere, you know something’s going on,” Linton said.
Linton stopped his semitrailer truck and ran to Ingle’s car with his fire extinguisher. As flames started to spread along the front of the car, Linton tried to keep them from igniting the dashboard and steering wheel.
Eight people stopped after the crash, and at least four of them, including Linton, had fire extinguishers. As the group with the extinguishers tried to keep the flames from burning Ingle’s face, Brown and others tried to think of a way to get him out of the car.
“He looks up at me and says, ‘Please help me, man, I’m starting to burn,’” Brown said.
Within a few minutes the fire extinguishers ran out, and Linton ran to his semi.
He called for any other truck drivers in the area and told them to get to the crash site with their fire extinguishers.
Meanwhile, Brown went to his car to get a pry bar. He crawled to the passenger side window and used the bar to break the glass. He tried to pull Ingle from the car, but that didn’t work.
Brown then went to the driver’s side of the car and used the pry bar to remove the car’s front seat from the floor. That gave Brown and Hauck enough room to get Ingle out.
The rescue took about eight minutes, Brown said. Within two minutes of getting Ingle out of the car, the vehicle was engulfed in flames, Brown said.
“It was a group effort, on everybody’s part,” Linton said.