Two homeless men save unconscious driver from burning car

Aby Rivas
Nov 20, 2018
01:53 P.M.
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Two ordinary men and their extraordinary act of bravery have earned attention from people all over the country: they saved a man’s life-risking their own, as they battled with a car going up in flames.


The incident took place last week in Santa Cruz, when a truck driver lost control of his vehicle, slamming on a small Sedan and pushing it 150 yards down the road on Highway 1. The car got stuck on the truck’s bumper, and once it stopped, it burst into flames.


The car hit several other vehicles on the way, leaving the driver unconscious as the fire started to spread out. But luckily for the man, two homeless men witnessed the accident and didn’t think twice before going to his aid.

Robert Woodlief and John Thompson were conscious about the danger of going near the vehicle on fire, but they sprung into action to save the driver’s life either way. “We heard the explosion. A big boom," Woodlief told KSBW. "It sounded like someone dropping giant shipping containers," added Thompson.

The driver’s seatbelt was stuck so, using a pocket knife and a box cutter, they cut their way through it until they were able to pull the man out of the vehicle just in time.


"It caught my hair on fire, and that's when I had to fall to the ground and roll two or three times, and then John ran into the car and proceeded to cut," Woodlief told the television station.

“I had to basically stop thinking about the flames. I wasn’t thinking about anything,” Thompson revealed. “My focus was on what I was doing, and I cut the belt."

Just after they took the man away from the car, the vehicle caught up to 7-foot flames, according to their recount of the story.


Woodlief, who was a construction worker for 30 years, said he’s no hero. He just hopes anyone else would have done that for another human being. Thompson added that he’s just an “everyday person,” refusing the praise for his bravery.

The Sedan’s driver remains in critical condition, according to KSBW.

People all over social media commended the two homeless men for their action, stating that is admirable how sometimes those who have less are more willing to help others.



On a similar note, last July a homeless man saved the life of a woman who jumped from a bridge in Minneapolis.

According to the University of Minnesota police report, a 35-year-old woman jumped from the Washington Avenue Bridge around 2:30 am on a Saturday.

The homeless man, identified as Shane Drossard, was sleeping under the bridge when he heard the woman fall into the water. He immediately sprung into action and took her out. Luckily, the woman survived the plunge and was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

Drossard recounted to WCCO that he told the suicide woman that "she was beautiful; she had so much to live for; he was there for her, and he was not going to let go of her." He also stated that he jumped to her rescue because he "wanted to do something good for somebody.”


Firefighters and police offered the man refugee for the night, but he refused and went back to his camp under the bridge.