Retired CBP officer, Marine rescue man from freeway car fire

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SAN DIEGO — A retired Customs and Border Protection officer and a Marine sprung into action when they spotted a car fire on Interstate 805 late Thursday morning.

Witnesses said a white sedan swerved across lanes, colliding with a work truck and coming to a rest in the right two southbound lanes near Telegraph Canyon Road in the Chula Vista area shortly after 11 a.m.

The car had a shattered windshield and eventually caught fire as it sat in the right lane alongside the truck. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames and paramedics were seen loading a man onto a stretcher and taking him to a waiting ambulance.

Tyrone Crawford said he was driving by moments after the accident. Crawford, a retired CBP officer, said he noticed the car was smoking and that an “elderly gentleman” in the sedan wasn’t making any moves to escape. Crawford and another person, who he said was a Marine, rushed to the car, unbuckled the man and pulled him from the driver’s seat before the flames started growing.

“We had to unbuckle him and literally carry him  out of the car because he could not move,” Crawford said. “We took care of him.”

Officials said the driver of the white sedan is a 65-year-old man from Tijuana. He was taken to UCSD Medical Center with major but non-life threatening injuries. A CHP officer said he suffered several spinal fractures but was in stable condition.

The pickup driver was unhurt. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

SkyFOX flew over the scene in the moments after the car burst into flames:

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