Driver pulled from fiery SUV crash by police, good Samaritans

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News

A Long Island man whose SUV crashed into a tree and burst into flames survived after being pulled through a window by police and a pair of quick-thinking good Samaritans.

The crash happened about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Suffolk County Police said. The driver, 34-year-old Brad Claus, was stuck inside the burning 2013 Ford Explorer.

Another driver, T.J. Zelezny, stopped when he saw the car and called police.

"As I was on the phone with 911, I saw it start to [catch] fire," Zelezny told WABC-TV. "Another gentleman stopped, and he was banging on the car with me."

Dennis O'Connor, a Suffolk County police officer, arrived on the scene, and the three men worked frantically to get Claus out as flames engulfed the car.

"[We] were having trouble getting the guy out, so I grabbed a shovel and smashed open the back window, and we were able to get the guy out through the back," Zelezny said. "It was just instinct, I guess. I mean, I would want someone else to help me out if I was in there. So it was my good deed for the day."

Claus was taken to a local hospital, treated and released.

"I was just glad the guy was alive, and we got him out," Zelezny added.

The crash is under investigation, police said.