4 Motorists Pull Woman From SUV On Palisades Parkway Just Before It Explodes

Crash Leads To Intense Situation; 2 Samaritans Speak Of Incident With CBS 2

VALHALLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It was an incredible – and highly risky — rescue in Rockland County.

A woman was pulled from her burning SUV just seconds before it exploded.

CBS 2’s Lou Young spoke with two of the four good Samaritans who were credited with saving the woman’s life.

A mangled piece of charred metal is all that was left of an SUV. It was airborne when Todd Pezzementi first saw it on Tuesday night.

“It was in the air upside down, coming toward me,” Pezzementi said.

The crash happened at Exit 12 on the Palisades Parkway. The SUV went out of control and barreled through the trees on the median with a 39-year-old wife and mother behind the wheel. Young spoke with two of the men who decided to risk their own lives to save hers.

“I hope someone would do it for me, for my family,” Colton Reitzes said.

The SUV’s engine block was broken in half. That’s how intense the initial impact was. When the vehicle came to a stop, leaking fuel was already on fire. The four motorists had very little time to get the woman out.

“We had seconds. I knew that if we didn’t get her out right then and there she was gonna burn,” Pezzementi said.

“We started trying to get her out and the door was completely mangled so it wouldn’t open and we just grabbed onto it where the window had broken and just started pulling on it. You could here the car popping. I don’t know, I guess it was the metal and the glass burning and popping,” Reitez said.

“We got her out on the ground and then we decided we have to get her away from this vehicle, it’s about to explode and within seconds of us getting over on the other side of the parkway the vehicle exploded,” Pezzementi added.

On Wednesday, the woman, Anna Bendechinni of West Haverstraw, was in fair condition at Westchester Medical Center.

The men who helped save her hope to pay her visit as soon as she’s well enough.

Reitzes is a recent graduate of North Rockland High School. He said he’d like to become a police officer. Pezzementi is a former officer.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.


One Comment

  1. Marie says:

    Incredible. Good to hear that there are still good, selfless people in our World.
    God speed to Ms. Bendechinni. Surely, those 2 men were placed at that scene, at that specific time- for the reason of saving her life.

  2. Ricky says:

    Gee, I wonder if she was texting orntalking on the phone prior to the “accident”.
    Cars just don’t “fly off the road”.

    1. kat says:

      you’re a jacka**. the article isn’t about how she got into the accident, but is about the people who saved her.

    2. LADYDI says:


  3. Frank A. Zanotti says:

    God Bless You Guys, You all define the word HERO.

  4. LOVE says:


    1. JusDav says:

      Umm the article didnt say anything about invisible beings saving her a$$.
      It was 4 brave HUMAN BEINGS that saved this fortunate lady.
      THANK Todd and Colton. Not god or angels. They (if they exist) just sat there watching and waiting like vultures for the next “soul” to part the earth.
      No, I do not believe.

      Thank you Todd an Colton. Excellent Job of being true humans.
      My personal thanks, even though I do not know the victim.


      1. Word of the wise says:

        The reason many people like you don’t believe is because you have no clue what God is or does. You expect that “if there is a God then X would have happened” or “if there was a God Y couldn’t have happened.”

        I have to say that you’re right. The God that you understand truly doesn’t exist. The G-d that does exist created a world that works through a process called nature. He created a world of tough love that is full of tremendous difficulties and terrible tragedies since adversity is often needed to make us all we can be. If we lived in a world were bad things simply didn’t happen we would all become complacent and lazy. After all, no matter what we did, nothing terrible would ever come from it. That would totally defeat the purpose of the world to begin with. Sometimes we ultimately see the good that can come from the bad, often we don’t. Since God sees and understands all while we can only see and understand what is immediately around us we can’t possibly understand the ways of God any more than a bottom level employee in one division of a large company can fully understand the CEO who sees every aspect of all parts of the company. Therefor it is impossible to say that if God existed the world would be different since you can’t accurately predict or explain something that you don’t understand.

        What we do know about God is that He works in subtle ways guiding things gently behind the scenes. Things both good and bad happen through the course of nature guided not by major miracles but by small seemingly insignificant events. If it was not that woman’s day to die then the right people were put in the right place at the right time to save her. Maybe one of those heroes dropped his keys and needed a few extra seconds to pick them up which put him right at the scene of the accident in stead of being ahead of it by a few seconds. Maybe there was an unusually short line in the pizza store so someone got onto the road a minute earlier than he otherwise would have and that put him on the scene just in time. Who knows. There are so many small insignificant events in life that can make such a big difference. If God had decided it was time for that woman to die then the gas may have blown up sooner, the heroes who pulled her out would have been a few seconds too early or too late to be of help, the SUV might have hit a tree in the median and exploded before anyone could have gotten to it or any other small, subtle event could have occurred that would have completely changed the outcome.

        Regardless, there is now a woman who will be looking at life a whole new way and a bunch of heroes who got to find out what they are really made of. All brought on by a dangerous accident.

        I know that this post is not going to make you instantly believe in anything but if you allowed yourself to get past the ridiculous presentation of what a God is that is spewed out by the mass media and even some mis-guided religious leaders you will see possibilities that you never fathomed before. Remember, only a fool criticizes that which he does not understand. Are you a wise man or a fool?

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