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Man saves daughter, friend as van plows into diners

SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego man is being called a hero after saving his daughter and a friend during a crash in the Los Angeles area last weekend.

Michael Rush told FOX 5 his life took a dramatic turn during a quiet meal with his nine-year-old daughter and a friend Sunday afternoon outside a restaurant on W. Pico Boulevard in Mid-Wilshire.

“All of a sudden I hear a car squealing out of control,” Rush said.

He said that's when instinct took over.

“I see it coming towards us and I push them out of the way,” Rush said.

He pushed his daughter and friend aside, knowing he would take the brunt of the crash.

“I got hit by the van. I guess I got slammed against the building,” Rush said.

Rush, along with at least eight others, was injured.

In the chaos, he found relief after seeing his daughter and friend were OK.

“They say I saved my daughter and friend from major injuries,” Rush said. “I’m just counting my blessings every single day. Every single day I’m counting my blessings."

Rush said his daughter has been reliving the nightmare and now has a hard time sleeping, but he is just grateful he is able to still wrap his arms around her.

“She’s my angel." Rush said. “She’s my best friend."

The military veteran does not call himself a hero. He said he just did what he had to do. He credits his alertness for helping save what is important in life.

“Always pay attention to your surroundings. Always pay attention because life is too precious. You never know what can happen to you. Never take anything for granted - anything,” Rush said.

Rush suffered serious head and leg injuries and will be out of work for awhile. He wants to thank everyone who has helped him through this difficult time.

His friends set up a GoFundMe page to help him with medical expenses.