QUEENS (WABC) --A car burst into flames after running over a metal car bumper on the Grand Central Parkway in Queens Tuesday, killing the backseat passenger.
The 2013 Toyota Highlander was in the eastbound lanes at around 1:40 p.m. The metal apparently punctured the gas tank, setting the vehicle ablaze.
The driver, Akeem Phillip, 26, pulled the burning car over to the side of the parkway near 94th Street in East Elmhurst. Phillip and Saturne Saint-Surin, 25, who was sitting in the passenger seat, were able to flee.
"I saw, like, a trail," said Phillip. "I thought maybe it was a metal piece, like the sparks and maybe a little fire."
Dale Tulloch, 50, of Yonkers, who was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle, could not escape the flames and died. "My friend was in the back seat and I was trying to tell him to get up, but unfortunately we weren't able to get him out," Phillip said.
The three friends had been on their way to pick up a car when Phillip said he could not avoid the large metal piece in his lane. He said when he saw the fire, he told Saint-Surin to get out of the car.
"I'm taking my seat belt off, I was screaming for our friend in the back. I just got out and immediately ran," she said.
She said they both thought their friend could get out. "When we seen him trying to get out, we both left our doors open so he could get out the front," said Saint-Surin. "So we kept running up. When we turned around we couldn't see him."
The survivors live Yonkers. They were transported to New York Hospital Queens in stable condition.