Passing Motorists Credited With Saving Lives in Horrific Accident
Jun. 1, 2004

"THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE REALLY HURTING TONIGHT. I WANT TO SAY I'M SORRY. I DID THE BEST I COULD TO SAVE THEM."

Ordinary citizens put themselves in danger to save the victims of a fiery head-on crash on I-15.

That crash decimated two vehicles.

One man died... and a newlywed couple was critically injured.

But troopers say the couple might not be alive tonight were it not for the help of other drivers.

Samantha Hayes joins us live with that part of the story.

Those men are being called heroes...they say others would have done the same..they were just the first to get there.

Before the firetrucks, the police, and medical crews...Jeramiah Richards was on the scene.

JERAMIAH RICHARDS: "THERE WAS JUST ON BIG GIANT BALL OF FIRE, AN SUV THAT WAS ON FIRE AND I HELPED OUT THE SUV."

Richards was driving his concrete truck northbound near the Point of the Mountain.

Just in front of him, the driver of a Chevy Cavalier lost control.

The Cavalier flipped through the median and hit an SUV in the southbound lane head on..

JERAMIAH RICHARDS: "I WENT AND GOT MY PUMP AND STARTED PUTTING OUT THAT FIRE AND ANOTHER GUY SAID SPRAY IT OVER IN THIS DIRECTION BECAUSE THERE IS SOMEBODY IN THERE."

Richards tried to save the man in the Cavalier, but it was too late - he died in the collision.

But Troopers credit Richards for using the water tank in his cement truck to douse the flames ...and Andy Finlay for ramming the SUV away from the flames with his truck.

ANDY FINLAY/WITNESS:" I JUST SAW ONE GUY BURN UP, I HAD TO DO SOMETHING. "

The man and woman in the SUV had been married only a week. The man was able to crawl out of the windshield..his wife had to be extricated and airlifted to the hospital.

SGT. SHAWN JUDD/UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL: "THESE PEOPLE DID THE BEST THEY COULD THERE'S A GREAT POSSIBILITY THEY SAVED SOME LIVES."

The accident backed up traffic along the Interstate and on side-streets for hours.

Utah Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the accident which occured in a construction zone.

SGT. SHAWN JUDD:" IDEALLY THESE CARS ARE GOING TO BE TRAVELLING AT 55 MILES AN HOUR WHICH IS THE SPEED LIMIT. ITS POSSIBLE THEY WEREN'T."

The man killed was from Taylorsville, the couple who are in the hospital are from Colorado.

Video news report:

http://tv.ksl.com/index.php?sid=97755&nid=8