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Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

Paraplegic Ann Arbor man rescued from burning vehicle on I-94 in critical condition

By Kyle Feldscher


The man pulled from this 2006 Dodge Caravan after it burst into flames is a 58-year-old Ann Arbor man who is reportedly a paraplegic. He's listed in critical condition at the University of Michigan Hospital.

Melanie Maxwell |

Previous coverage: Passers-by pull man from burning vehicle on I-94 near Chelsea

A man pulled from his burning vehicle by two motorists on Interstate 94 near Chelsea is listed in critical condition this afternoon, police said.

The driver of the 2006 Dodge Caravan was a 58-year-old Ann Arbor man, who is reportedly a paraplegic, according to a Michigan State Police press release. The man was eastbound on I-94 shortly before noon when his vehicle crossed into the center median, traveled back across the expressway and crashed in a field on the right side of the freeway, police said.

Two motorists who were also eastbound on I-94 stopped and pulled the man from the vehicle. Carlos Quintanilla of Flint, one of the men who pulled him from the vehicle, said he was unresponsive when they dragged him from the Caravan, but he was talking to state troopers and asking them to call his wife before he was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Police are not identifying the Ann Arbor man because his family has not yet been notified.

Many people stopped and tried to help extinguish the flames by pouring bottles of water on the man and using a fire extinguisher, according to witnesses and police.

Police said the Caravan was on fire before it came to a stop and the fire had started inside the van. Sgt. Mark Thompson, of the Michigan State Police, said investigators were still working to figure out how the blaze started.

A Survival Flight helicopter had originally been called to the scene, but the man was transported to University of Michigan Hospital by ground ambulance with a police escort, according to witnesses.

Quintanilla said the man was completely engulfed by the blaze when he and the other man approached the vehicle. The two men used their jackets to open the door to the vehicle and pulled the man out by his arms. Most of the Ann Arbor man’s clothes had been burned away, witnesses told

Quintanilla is from Flint and was traveling home after a job interview in Jackson. The other man who pulled the Ann Arbor man from the Caravan has not been identified.

Kyle Feldscher covers police and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

Thank you to Mr. Quintanilla and to the other individual. Good luck with the job, it would be nice if you could put this on your resume somehow.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:05 p.m.

No one will ever be able to thank those two men enough for their bravery. Words can not express how grateful the family and friends are for all of the help that He received. Unfortunately, this story does not have a happy ending. Thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

I am very sorry to hear that. I hope that the man's family and friends might find some comfort in that people did care enough to stop and help your friend.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Hopefully the person who interviewed Mr. Quintanilla prior to this incident will have an opportunity to see this story, and realize how lucky they would be to have a man of his caliber on their staff. Hats off to both men who helped for their selflessness, and thoughts and prayers for the recovery of the victim.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

Probably just saying the same thing that others have reported, but wish to add my sincere thanks to those who stopped and helped. My prayers go out to the gentleman and his family hoping that he will recover. These days when so much "yucky" news is being reported, it is good to hear that folks still care and are ready to stop and help.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:53 a.m.

Kudos to you that helped

Susan Aldrich Rollins

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:19 a.m.

So glad my husband was the other man that helped pull the driver out, and we are praying for the man in the crash and his family!! If anyone knows the gentleman or his family PLEASE let us know how he is and if there is anything else we can do to help!!


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 10:39 p.m.

To the brave and kind hearted men who risked their lives to save a fellow human being- God bless you! You ARE both considered a hero and an inspiration to others. We are hoping the victim will be OK. Loved this story and the video adds a lot of emotion.

Atlas Shrugged

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 10:25 p.m.

I don't know if it's "only in America," but it sure is great to read about total strangers helping out someone in real distress. Despite all our warts, we are "good people" deep down inside.

Dr. Vag

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

only in America


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 3:08 a.m.



Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 9:43 p.m.

It is so refreshing to see that there are still good people in this world. :)

Ricardo Queso

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

True heroes!