GARYVILLE, La. —
Four men are being credited with rescuing a woman from a burning car Monday morning near the intersection of Airline Highway and Highway 54.
It all happened when an impaired 22-year-old driver, identified Richard Preston, slammed into a car driven by a 41-year old woman, according to Trooper Melissa Matey with the Louisiana State Police.
Jeremy Zeringue was one of the men who helped in the rescue but said he had actually first noticed Preston’s car about a half hour earlier when it almost hit him. Zeringue called 911 and followed the car.
“I told the 911 operator ‘Hey, he is about to kill someone’ and that’s when the lady was stopped. He hit her at over 100-something miles per hour,” said Zeringue.
Zeringue got out and rushed over to the flaming car. State police say John Lejeune, Byron Gilcrease and another unidentified man eventually joined in.
It took time but the men were able to bust open the window with a fire extinguisher and pull the woman out.
“Basically when we broke the glass it (fire) was in her back seat already, flames were already coming through the trunk and out the backseat,” said Zeringue. (We) pulled her out of the window (the flames) started coming out of the window.”
According to Matey, it was just in the nick of time.
“Without their assistance, without them stopping to get them out it is quite possible she might have been killed in that crash,” said Matey.
The crash was witnessed by Anita Haley. She only started shooting video when she noticed it was a rescue.
“People need to see that there are modern day heroes out here and that people still care,” said Haley.
Zeringue doesn't think he’s a hero. He says he just did was what he thought was right and gives the rest of the credit to the other three men.
“You don’t think is this going to hurt or am I going to die? It don’t matter in that moment. You just gotta do it,” said Zeringue. “I don’t know any of them but I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Preston was locked up at St. John Parish Jail. He’s now awaiting trial for a long list of charges including DWI, first-degree vehicular negligent injury, reckless operation and unauthorized use of a movable.
The female victim has moderate injuries and is understandably still shaken up but she's going to be fine, according to state police.