Two Men Pull Woman From Burning Car

HONESDALE — Police said thanks to the quick thinking of two men in Wayne County, the life of a 21-year-old woman was saved.

Her car went off the road, caught fire, and that’s when the two men took action.

It only took a matter of moments, witnesses said, for a car that crashed on Route 191 in Wayne County to catch fire, trapping the 21-year-old driver inside.

Two men driving by stopped and immediately jumped into action.

“We came over the hill and saw a car laying on its side, the engine was on fire, we stopped, Bill jumped out and went to the girl,” said Gordy Potratz of Hawley.

Bill Lather tried to get Sara Vandergriff, 21, out of the burning car, but he couldn’t get to the seat belt buckle.

“So I yelled for Gordy, he had his knife ready, I reached in and cut the seat belt, got in and got her over my shoulders and dragged her out,” said Bill Lather of Hawley.

State police believe the driver fell asleep at the wheel, swerved off the road and hit a mailbox. It then went airborne and landed nearby. That’s when the car burst into flames.

The flames went so high, they touched nearby cable lines.

State police said the car burned so quickly and so hot, the make and model of the vehicle could not be identified.

One witness said, if it weren’t for the two men and an unidentified woman who also helped, the driver would not have made it.

“She would have burned up, by the time the fire company got here it was really burning,” said Charles Cowger of Cherry Ridge Township.

The good Samaritans said helping her was never a question, and they scoffed at the idea of being called heroes.

“I don’t want to hear the hero thing okay? We did what we had to do, to help somebody, heroes are fire fighters and police officers and military that do that every single day, we just came up on a scene and helped somebody,” said Lather.

Troopers said the victim was flown to Geisinger CMC in Scranton with serious injuries.

The victim’s mother said, her daughter is doing okay and she is recovering well after her surgery.



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