PEEKSKILL, N.Y. (CBS 2) — An accident left a minivan a charred shell of metal and broken glass, but thanks to the actions of a Good Samaritan, a mother and her baby boy were rescued from the vehicle with no serious injuries.
When Frank Matranga came upon an upended minivan crashed on the side of the road Thursday morning, the baby on board sign caused instinct to kick in.
“For me to roll up on something like this, it was just God putting me in the right place at the right time,” Good Samaritan Frank Matranga told CBS 2’s Katie Fehlinger.
Inside, he found Jennifer Vasquez and her 2-month-old son Raphael. The young mother believes she dozed off when her van veered off the road, striking a boulder.
“And I was like ‘Oh my God, oh my God I have a baby in here.’ I was just…so scared. I didn’t know what to do,” said Vasquez.
Soon after, the front end caught fire and Vasquez frantically called her boyfriend after several failed calls to 911.
“She was just screaming ‘Babe, babe help me help me! The baby!’ And I didn’t know what happened. I knew she had gotten into an accident. I could tell by her voice,” said boyfriend Erik Meisner.
“Flames started shooting up and they got really big really fast,” Matranga said.
He got through to emergency personnel, then grabbed the small fire extinguisher he keeps in his truck. Meanwhile another passerby smashed the back window and brought the baby out of the smoldering vehicle.
“As soon as I gave him to the guy, he just fell asleep in his arms,” Vasquez said.
No one seems to know the identity of the second good Samaritan, but he’s believed to live in the condo complex across the street. The family and Matranga want to express their gratitude to him as well.
“I wish I could meet him and shake his hand too,” Matranga said.
CBS 2 was there as the modest Good Samaritan met the family he saved face to face for the first time. Vasquez said other than a fat lip she suffered from the air bag deploying, both she and her baby are fine.
“I’m so grateful, so grateful. You know, we have an angel with us,” Vasquez said.
“I just want to thank him. I owe him a lot,” Meisner said.
New York State’s Good Samaritan Law doesn’t require someone to help at an accident, but lists three criteria for Good Samaritans: give help at an accident that’s not at a medical facility, act in good faith – meaning according to your training and without seeking compensation – and act without gross negligence.
Negligence is when the care you give falls short of the care you’re trained to give. What makes negligence “gross” is when you do something so egregious that someone else, with your same level of training, would recognize as harmful to your patient.
Do you feel you have a duty to help at an accident if you can? Sound off in our comments section below…