Woman rescued from burning car after Long Island crash

Tim Fleischer has the story
November 22, 2013 3:24:42 PM PST
A woman is recovering Friday after rescuers pulled her from a burning car on Long Island.

The incident began as a multi-vehicle crash on Middle Country Road at New Moriches Road in Lake Grove just before 6 p.m. Thursday.

Two brave Suffolk County officers from the fourth precinct had a hand in this rescue, but it was a Good Samaritan who jumped out of his truck first.

"If she was going to stay in there, she's going to die. I had to get her out," said David Ayala, the Good Samaritan.

He had to get her out of a car that had burst into flames after it was involved in a three-car accident Thursday evening in Lake Grove.

The driver was unconscious and in danger.

That was until David Ayala, a former volunteer firefighter, answered screams for help.

"I ended up breaking a window and climbing in to unseat belt her, and by that time he was on the other side trying to pull her out of the window," Ayala said.

Officer David Vlacich had pulled up seconds later. Right behind him was Officer Bryan Boudreaux. With one on each side of the car, the three worked together.

"The flames were just coming up from the dashboard. And I just reached in the car and put the driver in bear hug and just started yanking her of the car," Officer Vlacich said.

"I just kept my back to the flames. I just tried to get underneath her and shove her as they pulled," Officer Boudreaux said.

Finally, they were able to pull 23-year-old Stephanie McNamee to safety. She's being treated for serious injuries at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Thinking back on it now, Ayala told Eyewitness News he wondered what he was doing, but it was instinct that just took over.

"I'm still shaking, it's a lot, it's a lot," Ayala said.

The driver of a Jeep Liberty, 63-year-old Emily Clancy, of Farmingville, was also transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries.

The driver of a third vehicle, 23-year-old Amy Freilich, of Farmingville, was not injured.

The three vehicles were impounded for safety checks, and the investigation is continuing.