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WESTMINSTER : 3 Men Rescue 2 in Freeway Car Fire

Three people pulled two men from a car fire on the San Diego Freeway Tuesday after a crash that forced officials to close the freeway for half a mile in both directions, officials said.

Three men involved in the accident, who were not identified, were hospitalized after the 5:30 p.m. crash on the northbound lanes north of Springdale Street.

Witnesses told officials that a brown Oldsmobile was northbound in the fast lane when it abruptly swerved and hit the center divider.

The car then veered back across the northbound lanes and crashed into a white Toyota pickup in the slow lane, said Westminster Fire Capt. Craig Campbell.

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The Oldsmobile “slid on its side, struck a tree and burst into flames,” Campbell said. Three people ran to the car to help.

Jessie Rosalez of Long Beach, Daniel Lopez of Norwalk and Randal Davis of Whittier were able to get the passenger out first, Campbell said.

“The roof of the car was pinched in and the driver was belted real tight and he was unconscious,” forcing the rescuers to roll the car upright, Campbell said.

The men then “were able to reach in and pulled (the driver) out onto the freeway,” Campbell said. “It’s pretty amazing what they did.”

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Campbell said the freeway was closed in both directions for 30 minutes to enable a helicopter to land and take the driver of the Olds to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was in critical condition with head injuries Tuesday night. His passenger, who sustained broken bones, was in guarded condition at the same hospital.

The driver of the pickup, which landed in a drainage ditch, suffered minor injuries and was taken to Los Alamitos Medical Center.


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