Witness describes attempting to pull driver from burning vehicle in Ann Arbor
Charles McGuire and a friend were traveling west on Packard Road in Ann Arbor this morning, approaching a red light at Eisenhower Parkway, when an SUV traveling in the opposite direction sideswiped a car and lost control, he said.
The Ford Explorer Sport Trac slammed into a pole and caught fire.
McGuire and his friend immediately rushed to help the driver, whose legs were pinned in the vehicle. Fluids were leaking from the SUV, McGuire said.
"Help me, help me please," the driver pleaded with McGuire, who called 911 at about 2:50 a.m.
McGuire told the driver help was on the way.
McGuire's friend helped a male passenger move away from the SUV. Then he got into the passenger side, put his knee on the seat and attempted to free the driver, McGuire said.
But the driver's legs were pinned. Less than two minutes after the crash, the rear of the SUV caught fire, McGuire said.
"I didn't know what to say to him," McGuire said. "When it caught him on fire, he just started screaming. It was God awful."
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, Ann Arbor police spokeswoman Lt. Renee Bush said. Police declined to release his name tonight as they continue to notify relatives.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
The passenger was taken by ambulance to the University of Michigan Hospital, police said. McGuire said the passenger exited the SUV on his own and was in a daze, but did not appear seriously injured.
McGuire, 34, of Saline, said the SUV barreled through the intersection at an estimated 90 to 100 miles per hour and struck a pole, spun around, rolled over and landed upright.
McGuire said a pickup truck appeared to have been following the SUV. As McGuire and his friend rushed to help, that truck pulled into a nearby parking lot, but neither of the two men inside got out, McGuire said.
McGuire said he wished he could have done more.
"We just felt bad we couldn't get him out of the truck," he said.