Two California Highway Patrol officers and a good Samaritan rescued teenager from his burning car after it crashed outside of Napa early Sunday morning, a CHP sergeant said. The driver, 19-year-old Napa resident Abraham Sanchez, suffered major injuries and was arrested on suspicion of DUI before he was taken to the Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa. Sanchez was in stable condition this morning, hospital spokeswoman Vanessa deGier said.
Sanchez was driving a 2000 Honda south on state Highway 29 near Highway 221 in the Napa area around 1 a.m. when he hit the rear of a 1994 Dodge driven by 31-year-old Manuel Baltazar of Vallejo, CHP Sgt. Aaron Rohner said. The Dodge spun across both southbound lanes of Highway 29 and came to rest on the road’s shoulder, Rohner said. The Honda went over the wood-and-metal guardrail in the center divider and struck a large metal sign pole.
A fire then started in the Honda’s engine compartment, with Sanchez still trapped inside the car, Rohner said. Several passersby had already stopped at the crash site by the time CHP Officers Myron Wilson and Randy Siemens arrived, Rohner said. Wilson temporarily knocked down the flames with a fire extinguisher. None of the Honda’s doors would open, and Sanchez was screaming for help in the driver’s seat, Rohner said.
Siemens broke the left rear passenger window to access Sanchez, and both officers and a citizen who stopped at the scene were able to pull him through the driver’s side window as flames engulfed the vehicle, Rohner said. The good Samaritan left afterward without giving a name.
Sanchez was arrested on suspicion of DUI and causing injury to another but was released for medical treatment, Rohner said. Rohner said several witnesses at the scene said Sanchez would have burned to death without the efforts of the CHP officers and the unknown person who rescued him. Baltazar suffered moderate injuries and was taken to Queen of the Valley Medical Center. J
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