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Father-Daughter Team Rescues Man, 85, From Burning Car On Long Island

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BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two complete strangers were credited Tuesday with saving a Long Island man’s life, after they pulled him from his burning car.

As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, a father-daughter dynamic duo and their quick thinking were credited with saving the life of the 85-year-old man, whose car was destroyed by fire after spinning out of control early Monday afternoon.

“At that point, we could see that there were flames up underneath in the engine compartment area,” said Good Samaritan Martin Thompson.

The car, a 1994 Buick, was reduced to a charred and mangled shell after it was destroyed by flames.

Martin Thompson is police chief in the village of Head of the Harbor, and his daughter, Colleen Thompson, is a Suffolk County sheriff’s deputy. They were coming back from John F. Kennedy International Airport Monday, and were exiting the Southern State Parkway when they saw the Buick veer off the road into some trees near the northbound Sagtikos Parkway in Brentwood.

Martin Thompson told his brother to stop their car and call 911. He and his daughter ran to the accident.

“I saw that there was man in the front seat, slumped over, and I tried the door. The door didn’t open,” Martin Thompson said.

“We did see the flames right away,” added Colleen Thompson.

Colleen Thompson was able to get into the back of the car, while Thompson grabbed a large rock.

“I smashed the window with that, and he was saying, ‘Please don’t move me. I’m hurt. I’m hurt,’” Martin Thompson said.

But the flames were already into the dashboard and vents. A retired New York City firefighter who had also stopped helped lift the injured man out of the car.

The man in the car was identified as Sam Parkins, who lives in Wyandanch.

“When he was down on the ground, he kept saying that he was a World War II veteran and that he was in pain,” Colleen Thompson said.

Parkins, who was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, suffered a broken pelvis, two broken legs, and chest injuries.

“He certainly would not have survived that fire,” Martin Thompson said.

Parkins was still in the intensive care unit late Tuesday afternoon. Police do not know what caused him to go off the road.

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