Flames follow a highway crash and a house cleaning commuter rushes to the rescue


Roughly minutes before the fiery scene on I-26 west bound, Crystal McKinney was well into a typical work day; riding to another clean-up job with Charleston Cleaning and Restoration, but McKinney says it all changed very quickly.

“We were in the far right lane and all the sudden she just came right in front of us. She hit the wall did a 360, hit the next wall and I just jumped out of the van immediately.”

Stopping traffic on I-26 near Montague, she rushed across the lanes. The driver was still in the mangled car and there was little time to spare. “I tried to open up all the doors but the doors wouldn’t open. The flames were already over the hood of the car by the time I got to her.” said McKinney who is also the Office Manager at the cleaning business.

As the flames started to take over a young woman still sat in the driver seat, trying to gather her thoughts after a hard crash.  “I opened up her door I got it opened and she was kind of startled, I asked was anybody else in the car?”

McKinney says there were some scratches, blood and bruises on the driver and before being led to safety, an unlikely question to an unassuming hero. “She was in shock, she was asking for her phone. No phone, don’t worry about your phone let’s just go.”

Crystal got the driver to another car and then watched as thick black smoke swallowed the rest of the paint, plastic and rubber.

A day later a modest hero; McKinney says the person she helped remains nameless. “I didn’t get the young lady’s name but I know God was there to save her and I’m glad at least I was there to help.”

There were no serious injuries in Tuesday’s crash and the cause has not been determined, although McKinney said there was heavy rain just before the accident.

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