Home / National News / Photojournalist Saves Driver Trapped in Burning Car on Highway in Los Angeles

 

(LOS ANGELES) — Dramatic video captured the moments a photojournalist worked to rescue a driver trapped inside a burning car early-morning New Year’s Day.

Photojournalist Austin Raishbrook, who co-owns newsgathering agency RMG News, told ABC News Monday that he had been driving down Interstate 110 in Los Angeles a little after 3 a.m. Sunday when he spotted a black vehicle with no lights on sitting in the left-most lane of the northbound side of the highway.

Raishbrook is a stringer, or a freelance journalist who listens to radio traffic for incidents — such as car accidents or fires — to capture on photo or film and then sell to news organizations.

After seeing the black car, Raishbrook said, he pulled over and began filming the unusual sight. He said the windows appeared to be darkly tinted, and he originally could not tell whether anyone was inside.

Within seconds of beginning to film, another car came barreling into the back of the standing black car, which then burst into flames, as seen on the video Raishbrook captured.

Raishbrook said he then immediately dropped his camera and raced over to the black car with a fire extinguisher and a flashlight.

He used the extinguisher to break the passenger-side window and saw a man slumped over the wheel, Raishbrook said, before working to pry open the driver-side door and pulling the man out of the car.

By that time, other stringers from newsgathering agency OnScene.tv had arrived on the scene and filmed the rescue.

Raishbrook said he stayed with the man on the highway until California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers, medics and firefighters arrived.

CHP received an initial report about the incident around 3:28 a.m. Sunday from a resident who called in saying that they heard a crash, the department told ABC News Monday.

Multiple calls soon followed reporting the same crash and a burning vehicle.

It was unclear why the driver who was pulled from the burning vehicle had been sitting in the car with no lights on in the highway prior to the crash, the California Highway Patrol said. The driver suffered lacerations to his face and a broken rib and was transported to a nearby hospital, according to CHP.

The Los Angeles Fire Department extinguished the fire and transported one injured person to the hospital, a spokeswoman said, adding that no additional information was immediately available.

Raishbrook said the incident was the “craziest thing” he had ever seen in his 20-year career as a stringer. He does not see himself as a hero, Raishbrook added, and was just doing what was right.

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