Man makes heroic rescue before car bursts into flames on FDR Drive

Sonia Rincón Image
Saturday, October 1, 2022
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Dental student Asher Rubinov remembers the Toyota behind him weaving and speeding. Sonia Rincon has the story.

SUTTON PLACE, Manhattan (WABC) -- The traffic on the FDR Drive on Monday afternoon was lighter than usual because of the holiday.

Dental student Asher Rubinov remembers the Toyota behind him weaving and speeding.

"I see him sort of trying to go around me using the shoulder lane," said Rubinov.

However, the shoulder wasn't wide enough.

"And I just thought to myself, you're not going to have space to do that," Rubinov said.

The car went airborne as a result of the fiery crash, when it hit a barrier, ejecting the driver.

"He started moving around, opening his eyes, so I could see that he was a little bit responsive, but he couldn't really answer any of my questions," Rubinov added.

Rubinov called 911 and the operator asked if there was anyone else in the car.

"They asked me to check, I went over to the car, started looking around, all I saw was airbags and fire. I couldn't even see the girl at first," he said.

The girl was in the back seat - buckled in and not seriously hurt.

"So I opened the door and started pulling her out. Before I know it, she was out. I had her in my arms. And by that time, the father started to get up," said Rubinov.

They walked away from the burning car just in time.

"As soon as we got maybe 20 feet away from the car, the car started exploding," adds Rubinov.

An ambulance took the injured driver and his little passenger away before Rubinov could figure out who they were.

The Toyota had only clipped his car before the crash, shattering a headlight, but the Toyota was burned beyond recognition. Rubinov does not even want to think what could have happened to the young girl and was glad his instincts told him to get out and help when he did.

"I know CPR. If I needed to do that, that's something I could do, but my main goal was to help them. I can't be a bystander in a situation like that," he said.

He also says we can all learn from this.

"Be aware of your surroundings. Maintain the rules of the road," he said.

Police say the driver was not intoxicated and he has not been charged or issued a summons.

Rubinov says he just hopes the driver learned a lesson and does not drive that way again.

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