'You could hear the screaming': Witness recounts horrific crash, dramatic rescue
Published Friday, January 29, 2016 10:44AM EST
Judging by surveillance camera footage of a multi-vehicle crash in Windsor, it’s amazing that anyone survived. But thanks to the quick actions of witnesses, all the victims are now recovering.
The crash occurred Saturday, when the driver of a pickup drifted into oncoming traffic on a road near the Windsor airport. He hit three vehicles, leaving his truck in pieces.
Ali Mansour, the owner of a Lube Plus car repair shop, saw the crash unfold directly outside his shop.
“Out of nowhere, I see these cars explode right in front of me,” Mansour told CTV Windsor.
He immediately ran out to help and came across a surreal scene.
"I go outside and there was a moment of quietness and pause. All the debris, the smoke... And then the instincts kick in," he said.
Lessons from Mansour's father – who is a retired firefighter in his home country of Lebanon -- quickly came to Mansour’s mind. He says he knew he had to head to the vehicle with the most damage first.
"I saw it squashed into pieces. I said, ‘This guy is definitely dead, there's nothing to rescue here’," he said.
So he headed over to a minivan that had been hit.
"I made eye contact with the driver and asked them if they were ok. They gave me the thumbs up,” he said.
After confirming the two people in the minivan were stable, Mansour headed to another vehicle that had been hit almost head-on. The car’s driver side door was smashed in. Several other men who had arrived on the scene tried to open it and free the driver but couldn’t. Mansour ran to the passenger side.
"When I opened the door, there was an airbag in the way. You could hear the screaming of a woman inside. I lifted the airbag and said, ‘Are you ok?’ She said ‘yes’."
The man in the passenger seat had minor injuries to his head and hand. Both passengers assured them they were okay. Mansour then headed back to the vehicle with the most damage, but admits he was hesitant to get a closer look.
“It didn’t look like a truck anymore. All it looked like was parts of an engine with a door hanging off of it. That was the only way you could tell it was a car,” he said.
When Mansourt looked in the driver’s seat, there was no one there. That’s when he noticed an injured man lying face down on the road.
“He had blood on him and was trying to stand up. And I was like, ‘Stay down, buddy. Don’t even move’,” Mansour said.
Moments later, Mansour noticed a fire had broken out in the truck’s engine that was quickly intensifying. He ran back to grab a fire extinguisher and helped put out the flames.
Emergency crews arrived soon after and Mansour was able to direct them to the vehicle with people still trapped inside.
"There was almost 25 firefighters with all kinds of tools I've never seen in my life. They cut the car in maybe five minutes, cut them out with the least damages,” Mansour said of the firefighters.
“They are the real champions."
In all, three people were sent to hospital. Amazingly, all had only minor injuries.
The 24-year-old driver of the pickup truck has now been charged with impaired driving.
With a report from CTV Windsor’s Stefanie Masotti