FedEx driver helps rescue man from burning car: 'I did what I think anybody would do' | VIDEO

The driver was dragged to safety from his burning car on a California highway.

ByMeredith Deliso ABCNews logo
Thursday, July 27, 2023
Dramatic rescue shows FedEx driver save man from burning car
A FedEx driver stepped and rescued a man from a fiery crash in California.

SAN DIEGO -- Jonathan Rohrbach was about halfway through his overnight shift, driving a FedEx semi along a Southern California highway early Wednesday, when he noticed something he doesn't usually come across on his run -- a car on fire at the edge of the road.

When Rohrbach pulled over, he quickly realized he was the first at the scene -- and that the driver was still in the burning car.

A Toyota sedan heading southbound on Interstate 15 had veered right and "left the roadway" shortly before 3 a.m., "impacting a metal guard rail," the California Highway Patrol said.

Rohrbach helped pull the injured driver from the burning car, before it became fully engulfed in flames.

The fire was just in the engine compartment when Rohrbach arrived at the scene, and the driver was in the passenger's seat partway out of the car, the FedEx driver told ABC News.

"I pulled over, grabbed my phone and the fire extinguisher in our trucks and ran back to the car," Rohrbach, 41, said. "My first thought was, use a fire extinguisher and try to put out the fire the best I could."

Rohrbach said he almost had the fire out before the fire extinguisher ran out.

"It died down enough to where it at least bought us a couple of minutes to where I went back to him," Rohrbach said.

Rohrbach said the driver appeared to have leg injuries. Rohrbach said he was able to help the driver to the ground before pulling him away from the burning vehicle while also calling 911.

"By then, the fire had already started to build back up and the whole engine compartment was back on fire again. The car itself was starting to fill with smoke and everything," Rohrbach said.

Rohrbach used the flashlight on his phone to see if there were any other passengers in the car before returning back to the driver.

The aftermath of the crash was captured by a cameraman from San Diego ABC affiliate KGTV who had also responded to the scene.

"He is lucky to be alive," a stunned Rohrbach, wearing his FedEx uniform, told the station while looking at the mangled, burning car.

By the time a fire truck arrived, the car was fully engulfed in flames, Rohrbach said.

The 28-year-old victim was transported to an area hospital for "major non-life-threatening injuries" and is in stable condition, California Highway Patrol said.

"I honestly, I don't even know his name or how he's doing," Rohrbach said. "I hope he's doing good -- better."

Rohrbach said he gave police his statement and then continued his run.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Neither drugs nor alcohol were determined to be a factor in the collision, police said.

In the nearly 20 years he's been a truck driver -- eight of which have been with FedEx -- Rohrbach said he hasn't encountered anything quite like this before.

"At some point, you drive enough, you're gonna see accidents. Probably not to this level, especially being the first one [at the scene]," he said.

Rohrbach said his co-workers and friends have been hailing him as a hero, though he doesn't consider himself one.

"I just happen to be the right guy in the right place at the right time," Rohrbach said. "I did what I think anybody would do. Just saw a guy that needed help so I stopped and helped him."