They were on their way to a night out, but they couldn’t drive past the flaming cars.
As CBS 4 Denver reports, Andy Lewis and his wife were driving by an intersection in Greeley, Colorado on Saturday evening when they came across the aftermath of a terrible car crash.
According to the Greeley Tribune, the accident occurred when a woman stopped in the right lane of the highway — not on the shoulder — and put on her hazard lights, possibly to signify a breakdown. That’s when another car plowed into the stopped vehicle at 65 miles per hour. Firefighters say the fuel tanks of both vehicles ruptured at the moment of impact.
The burning cars immediately caught the attention of Lewis and his wife. He told CBS 4:
“We were just going on a date night and then we see that, and we’re like, ‘Okay, yeah. We got to stop.'”
They weren’t the only ones. About a dozen people stopped to try and aid the crash victims. Lewis told CBS 4 that they were aware that the situation could get worse any moment:
“I was hearing them exploding. I was like, ‘It could explode completely at any second.'”
Lewis and several others focused on getting an unconscious driver out of the car while others tended to a driver who lay in the road.
Working together, the men broke the car window, pulled the driver out of the car, and carried her to safety.
Lewis said that he offered his coat to the driver who was still conscious, aware that she was shivering, in shock, and needed to be kept calm. He told CBS 4:
“I saw one of the drivers just on the ground, and she’s unconscious and people are tending to her. My wife was one of them that was able to tend to her, and I was able to talk to the other driver, too. She was in a state of shock.”
Emergency crews soon arrived to put out the fire, but Brett Riemenschneider, one of the other men who ran to the rescue, was haunted by the possibility that they had missed a child in the back seat. He told the Tribune that he broke down once he got home:
“I tried to put on the tough dad face for my kids. As soon as I got to the bathroom and my mom started picking pieces of glass out of my hand, I just kind of broke down. Like, full-on sobbed like a baby for an hour.”
He said it was an enormous relief to read the news coverage of the car crash and learn that the drivers were alone at the time.
Though there were several people who ran towards the flames that day to help, the men who saved the drivers are reluctant to be called heroes. Lewis told CBS 4:
“I’m not a hero or anything. I’m about doing the right thing no matter what. If I were in that situation, I’d hope people would do the same thing for me, too.”
Riemenschneider, speaking to the Tribune, agreed:
“I don’t think any of us are heroes. I just think that, you know, we’re people, and that’s another person. So, that’s the right thing to do, regardless of what comes of it at the end.”
But there was still something that they learned about themselves that night. Riemenschneider told the Tribune that his wife’s cousin, an EMT, pointed out that he was lucky, then told him:
“You know what kind of man you are now. You know now that you’re the type of guy that’s going to run in and help.”