Tractor-trailer ignites, the driver jumps for his life – and now he’s recovering, thanks to a good Samaritan

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(WIVB) – An expectant father from South Buffalo, Alex Antonio Rodriguez-Gonzalez, was in the car with his pregnant fiance on the way to Tops to buy her some tea.

It was just before 8 p.m. on Wednesday. They were on Mineral Springs Road when they saw a tractor-trailer go off the road, into the guardrail and up in flames.

New York State Police say the driver of the truck lost control of the vehicle on the wet overpass and jumped out.

That’s when Alex says he pulled over and ran to get the driver away from the burning truck.

“You see all the debris- he was right here, maybe a little bit higher- because he slipped down when he tried to get up,” he said. “So that’s when I walked up. I knew I had to grab him, because the thing was starting to shake, the other engines were blowing. I just put my arm out. He already had his arm out and we locked wrists. I grabbed his wrist, he grabbed my wrist and I helped him up.”

His fiance was in the car watching in horror.

“I was terrified, I was pretty mad that he got out the car, I was freaking out,” she said. “But, I’m glad he helped the guy, because I’m watching and right as he helped him move, right after that, the front of the truck fell down.”

After Gonzalez helped the driver to his feet another good Samaritan came over.

“Then out of nowhere some other guy came running up and I released him into his arms and I walked down then shortly after then the semi came down,” he said. “We had moved him to the whole opposite site of the overpass.”

He recounts the moments after he helped guide the driver to safety.

“The EMTs were there for 10, 20 minutes working on him and he grabbed my hand, he asked me what my name was,” said Gonzalez. “I told him my name was Alex, he just kissed my hand and told me thank you. I just would really like to see him again.”

Gonzalez says there was also a nurse who helped as well. She called 911. The driver is being treated for his injuries at ECMC.

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