The rescue of a suspected drunk driver from a burning vehicle early Saturday in Arlington, Texas was caught on camera, but the man who pulled the driver from the vehicle insists he’s “not a hero.”
Eric Snorden was driving home from work at approximately 3:50 a.m. on Interstate 30 when he noticed a car on the side of the road, “propped up” and wrapped around a pole.
Snorden told Global News that he “immediately noticed a flame” spreading from the bottom of the car, so pulled over and got out of his own car.
He said he screamed out, “Hey, can anybody hear me?” before running to the front of the vehicle.
He says he saw one man on his phone with police while another was speaking with somebody in the car. He said a man was passed out inside the vehicle.
“I was just trying to revive him and I remember the guy beside me saying, ‘Man, we need to get him out,'” Snorden said in a phone interview.
By this time, Snorden said flames had risen close to the car’s windshield.
Snorden attempted to pull the man out of the vehicle. He says the man then “flopped” onto the ground, which brought him back to consciousness.
“Had we not have pulled him out, we would’ve been cooked,” he said.
The two men then began to drag the driver — who moaned in pain as he was dragged — away from the burning car while talking to him to keep him responsive.
At one point in the video of the incident, the two men can be heard asking, “You drunk, bro? Were you drinking?” The driver, identified by police as Zack Sprinkle, responds with a “yes.”
That response was “heartbreaking,” Snorden said.
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“It was heartbreaking because you … hear this all the time where people are drinking and driving, but you never think you’re going to come across a situation like this,” he said.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report one in three crash deaths in the country involved drunk driving.
By comparison, according to a 2016 report by the CDC, Canada has the highest percentage of crash deaths involving alcohol in high-income countries at 34 per cent, while the U.S. came in second with 31 per cent.
NBC affiliate KXAS reports the man was taken to a local hospital and was charged with driving while intoxicated.
Sprinkle has been in touch through Facebook, Snorden told Global News. He said that he and his family are “praying” for the 25-year-old driver.
“He’s a human being. We all mess up — he deserves a second chance.”
Asked about being called a hero on social media, Snorden brushed off the accolade but said he hoped his actions would send the message to “think before you drink.”
“A drink is not worth your life,” he said. “No one should have to lose their life to a bottle, so please be safe.”