Two quality assurance specialists saved lives Jan. 24 when a vehicle in front of them hit a curb, flipped over in the air and cascaded to a stop a short distance from their government vehicle. The two reacted quickly to help remove the driver and passenger as flames threatened to consume the car.
The accident took place at approximately 2:45 p.m., less than two miles from the contract management office in Palmdale, Calif. Mike Agostini and Maurice Tucker were on their way back from an item inspection at a local contractor facility when a compact car sped past them, cut off another car and went airborne.
ìMaurice was driving and immediately went to the overturned car to help,î said Agostini. ìWhen we got to the accident, there was fire and smoke coming from underneath the hood, airbags had deployed and we could hardly see anything.î
Tucker remembered thinking, ìthis is crazy; the car is on fire and could blow up.î He also knew he could not just stand there and do nothing. ìIf something would have happened, I never would have forgiven myself for not trying.î
The first movement they noticed was the driver attempting to climb out the window. ìHe was disoriented and having trouble with his seatbelt, but otherwise uninjured,î said Agostini. ìWe helped him out and then asked if anyone else was in the car. The driver said ëyes, in the passenger seatí and we ran around the car to get the other person out.î
The passengerís door was jammed, so Agostini called 911 while Tucker worked on the door. The driver ran to a nearby building and found a fire extinguisher.
ìBecause of the way the car had flipped, it had crushed the passenger door and I had to pry it open in order to get the person out,î said Tucker.
Tucker was able to get the door open and remove the passenger. The driver appeared moments later and took care of the fire before it spread and engulfed the car. Within 10 minutes, rescue personnel were on the scene and the victims were treated.
ìIím just glad we were there and able to help,î said Agostini. ìMaurice reacted quickly and didnít hesitate to stop and help when he saw the accident take place. Iím grateful everyone was okay; it could have been a lot worse.î