Drivers rescue woman from fiery car wreck

Drivers rescue woman from fiery car wreck
Photos courtesy Oregon State Police

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. -- Passing drivers rescued a woman from the burning wreckage of her car before firefighters arrived Monday morning, according to Oregon State Police.

The rescue happend after Ketsy Roeder, 60, of Kennewick, Washington, lost control of her 2010 Toyota Camry on Interstate 84 eastbound. The car left the road, hit a rock mound and went airborne before crashing into some trees and overturning, coming to rest on its top before bursting into flames.

One of the other drivers who stopped kicked out a window and tried to free Roeder, who was unconscious and held in place by her seatbelt.

When they were unable to pull her from the wreckage, the passersby worked together to roll the car onto its side. Using a baseball bat, one of the drivers broke out the sunroof.

Reaching inside, the man cut off the safety belt as Roeder was regaining consciousness. Several people teamed together to pull Roeder out of the burning car, police said, before moving her about 20 feet away while waiting for firefighters to arrive.

Matthew Perez, 28, of Portland, was one of those rescuers.

"I was headed out to Hot Springs Resort for some much needed rest," Perez told KATU. "I've been working to start my own business - a window cleaning business - and it's been stressful getting everything off the ground, getting my business license and all that."

Perez said he had decided to head out to the resort for a couple of days to recharge his batteries.

"I was driving right behind this woman and she went right into the embankment. It looked like she was going to be able to correct things but it didn't work out."

Perez said he and a couple of other people immediately rushed out to help her.

"I don't think I was a hero. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do."

Cascade Locks Fire & EMS arrived and extinguished the car fire and flames that had spread up the embankment into nearby trees.

Medics treated Roder at the scene. She was taken by ground ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, where she is in fair condition, state police said.

The fire closed all eastbound lanes of I-84 for about 90 minutes while firefighters battled the flames.

Perez said he never made it out to the resort.

"I couldn't go. I just needed to come home," he said. "I'm still processing what happened."