News

L.I. Good Samaritan Helps Rescue Woman From Burning Vehicle

Woman Hospitalized With Serious Injuries

LAKE GROVE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island man helped two Suffolk County police officers rescue a woman from a burning vehicle following a multi-vehicle crash Thursday evening.

The incident occurred on Middle Country Road and New Moriches Road in Lake Grove at around 5:45 p.m.

When Officers David Vlacich and Bryan Boudreaux arrived, police said they noticed one of the three vehicles involved in the crash was on fire and a woman — identified as Stephanie McNamee, 23, of Holbrook — was trapped inside.

“The whole hood of the car was in flames and they were about two or three feet coming out of the car and dashboard,” Officer Vlacich told CBS 2’s Tamara Leitner on Friday.

Good Samaritan David Ayala, 37, of Centereach told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall that he was driving home when he saw the crash and immediately stopped to help.

“As I pulled up, someone was screaming,” Ayala said. “I had no other choice but to break the window and climb in the car and unbuckle her.”

The police officers jumped in to assist as soon as they arrived on the scene.

“The driver’s side door was unable to be opened it was just crunched and crinkled,” Officer Boudreaux said.  “I crawled in through the passenger door and just kept my back to the flames. As they pulled, I pushed.”

McNamee was unconscious when Ayala and the officers pulled her from the burning vehicle to safety, police said.

She was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital where she was listed in serious condition.

Ayala, who was a volunteer firefighter, suffered minor cuts to his hands, Hall reported.

Another person involved in the crash also sustained minor injuries, police said.

The officers were not injured.

Mcnamee’s family told Leitner they are grateful to the officers who pulled their daughter from the burning car.

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

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