AUBURN, Wash - Four Good Samaritans rescue an elderly man from his car, seconds before a train hit it last night. They say the driver was disoriented and turned onto the train tracks, thinking it was a street.
“Come on, we have to get off the tracks sir. Help me, help me, help me.”
The moments before the train collision were caught on cell phone video. Richie Sanchez says you can hear what he and his friends were going through.
“It was like fearful confusion.”
Just a minute earlier, Richie was getting ready to leave a friend’s house in Auburn when he saw a car stuck on the train tracks.
“As soon as I walked over to the car, I noticed he was an elderly man, and he had no idea or recollection where he was whatsoever.”
He called 911, while Cynthia Svendgard tried to convince the driver to get out of the car. She knows how often trains pass by and that they can’t stop very easily.
“A car has actually hit the house from a collision here,” she says. “So I was trying to get everyone as far away as I could.”
A train started approaching just then, so they all picked up the man and dragged him off the tracks as fast as they could. They hid behind some parked cars for protection.
“We’re hearing the train arms come down, we're hearing the dinging of the bell, and we’re hearing the horn of the train. It's getting closer and closer,” Richie says. “It was just the most frightening, adrenaline rush I’ve had in a long time.”
The car was hit and dragged about 150 feet down the tracks. But no one was hurt, thanks to Richie, Cynthia and their friends.
“We don't really classify ourselves as heroes. We're just people that want to help our community,” says Richie.
“I think I did what I was supposed to do,” adds Cynthia. “I did what a lot of other people would do for me, I would hope so.”
She’s glad they were all in the right place at the right time, and could make sure the driver got out safely.
“At the end of everything I got to say goodbye to him,” she says. “It was kind of cheesy, but I told him I loved him and gave him a hug.”
Firefighters say they examined and treated the man for non-life threatening injuries. They haven’t released his name yet.