AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – More information about that deadly crash at the intersection of Wrightsboro Road and Troupe Streets over the weekend.
Raymond Allen was killed when he ran a red light and hit a Toyota 4 runner causing the 4runner to flip over.
Allen’s vehicle then caught fire. Two men passing by jumped in to try and pull Allen out of his car before it burned.
“It was horrifying,” said Jeff Stephenson.
“My only goal was to get him out of that car,” said Roman Waldera.
Ramon Waldera and Jeff Stephenson say they were leaving a church meeting when the crash happened.
“We were coming out of the parking lot and heard a big explosion. I looked over to the right and saw blue light. I jogged through that parking lot and that’s when I witnessed one car in flames and another SUV or Mini Van on it’s side,” said Waldera.
Waldera says he ran to the driver’s side of Allen’s lincoln attempting to get into his vehicle and pull him out.
He says, “The door was completely jammed and at that point a police officer came out with a flashlight and tried to break the window out.”
When that didn’t work, another friend of Waldera’s, Bob Wise, discovered that the back passenger door was unlocked.
“So I jumped into the back passenger seat with him into the burning car and it quickly filled up with smoke and Bob had to exit the vehicle and I was continuing to try and pull him out, that’s when I started to give up hope that this guy might end up burning up in the vehicle,” said Waldera.
He says a deputy grabbed one of their batons and busted out the window. Waldera continued trying to pull Allen from his car. Another deputy came in to assist.
“The officer had him by one shoulder, his right shoulder, and was pulling him out and I had grabbed his left shoulder and was trying to pull him out and as we were both pulling him out the flames were coming in and I hollered for someone to help pull his legs, and that’s when Bob Wise came over and grabbed him by his waistband and we were able to pull him out just before the car went up into flames,” he said.
Just a few feet away Jeff Stephenson was attempting to save the family trapped in the Toyota 4Runner. Thankfully, their passenger door was unlocked.
“I was able to open it easily and when I looked inside at first, it was kind of scary. The wife was in her seatbelt and hanging and wasn’t moving really,” said Stephenson.
Her husband, which has been identified as Aquinas football coach James Leonard looked at Stephenson. Stephenson says he asked Leonard if he was okay and what he saw next will stick with him forever.
“He leans back and when he does, he was protecting his son he was over his son so I don’t know how he consciously got his son from the back, but he was doubled over his son to keep him safe,” said Stephenson.
This image shows Waldera, his wife, and Stephenson on their knees praying after rescuing the victims from their cars. They say they’re not heroes, just simply doing what God called them to do at that moment.