A Good Samaritan and a California deputy saved a father’s life after pulling his body from burning truck that caught fire in a rollover crash on Father’s Day.
The dramatic rescue happened on Sunday afternoon when a Steven Riggs was driving through the town of Knights Ferry and his vehicle veered off Highway 108-120 for an unknown reason.
Riggs, a father from Modesto, was inside his truck when it began to roll down an embankment before landing in a nearby empty field, Modesto Bee reports.
Deputy Saul McNaul was reportedly patrolling the area when he witnessed the scary crash, quickly cleared a gate and rushed over to the fiery vehicle.
When McNaul made it to the vehicle, Good Samaritan John Phelps was already trying to save Riggs by reaching through the driver’s door to pull him up.
Good Samaritan John Phelps (pictured) rescued Modesto resident Steven Riggs on Father’s Day after his truck crashed and rolled into an embankment
‘I knew for a fact that if we didn’t get him out, he was going to burn alive,’ Phelps told East Idaho News.
According to Phelps, he was driving on the stretch of highway when he noticed a dust cloud in the nearby filed and determined a car had just crashed.
‘It was zero seconds. I didn’t hesitate whatsoever,’ said Phelps. ‘I parked my car, said “I’ve got to go”, jumped that fence and ran as fast as I can to him.’
Both Deputy Saul McNaul and Phelps were forced back from the crashed vehicle when a fire under the front hood grew
Police body camera footage captured the harrowing moment when Deputy McNaul meets Phelps at the downed truck as a woman screams for help nearby.
Phelps can be seen standing on a pile of crate beds that appears to have toppled over in the crash.
John Phelps: ‘I didn’t hesitate whatsoever. I parked my car, said “I’ve got to go”, jumped that fence and ran as fast as I can to him’
Both of Phelps’ arms are inside the driver side window to assist Riggs, but he and Deputy McNaul both jump back when a fire under the vehicle’s hood grows.
‘Sir, undo your seat belt!’ Deputy McNaul shouts.
Phelps manages to grasp onto Riggs’ hand as Deputy McNaul urges the man to get out of the vehicle.
When it’s clear that Riggs can’t be saved through the driver door, the two men urge him to crawl towards the rear window.
‘We have to pull you out!’ one of the men exclaim. ‘Get to the back!’
Meanwhile, a bloodied Riggs can be heard moaning in agony as the two men begin to pull him out by his arms.
After Deputy McNaul and Phelps determined Riggs couldn’t be saved through the driver side window, they urged the father to crawl towards the rear window
Riggs (pictured) could seen bloodied with multiple injuries and was heard moaning in agony as the two men pulled him from the vehicle
Riggs (pictured) told them that his back hurt from the crash and they he couldn’t get up
About 30 seconds go by before they successfully pull Riggs through the rear window. He’s then dragged around 20 yards away into the field.
Riggs can be heard asking ‘What happened?’ and weeping as Phelps and Deputy McNaul move him from the scene.
After speaking with a dispatcher, McNaul notices the inferno growing even bigger and spreading onto the grass.
‘Guys! We need to move him farther away. This thing can explode!’ he says.
Riggs lays on the ground motionless, crying that his back hurts and that he cannot get up.
After dragging Riggs (center) to safety, Deputy McNaul (right) noticed the inferno had grown bigger and had traveled onto the grass
Authorities said Riggs is ‘in good spirits and extremely thankful’ after Phelps (left) and McNaul (right) rescued him this week
Soon after, a Cal Fire crew arrived to the scene and Riggs received additional help from paramedics.
A witness tending to Riggs points to McNaul and said: ‘This guy right here saved his life.’
California Highway Patrol Modesto-area spokesperson Thomas Olsen told the Modesto Bee: ‘No doubt [Phelps and McNaul] saved his life. He was not getting out of that vehicle on his own.’
McNaul said he’s spoken with Riggs daily as he recovers from his injuries at a local hospital. D
Riggs is reportedly ‘in good spirits and extremely thankful.’
Phelps said that at the time, he wasn’t thinking about himself when he decided to save Riggs.
A California Highway patrol spokesperson said there was ‘No doubt [Phelps (left) and McNaul (right)] saved’ Riggs life on Sunday
Phelps , pictured with his wife Karina (right) said: ‘I feel good about myself. I’m glad God put me there at the right time and the right place’
‘I wasn’t really worried about myself. I knew that if I had enough time then it was going to happen. If not, it would have been bad,’ he said.
Phelps said he was the one who undid Riggs seat belt moments before Deputy McNaul arrived and mere minutes before the flames became unmanageable.
‘There were four or five people up on the road…who were saying “it’s going to explode, get away!”‘ said Phelps.
‘I said, “I know it’s going to explode but I have to get this guy out of here first.”‘
Karina, Phelps’ wife, recorded the entire rescue on her cell phone and watched on as her husband put himself in a life-endangering situation.
‘I was praying the whole time,’ said Karina. ‘I was praying in my head that he was going to be fine. He always puts others first.’
For his part in the daring rescue, Phelps said he’s just happy he was able to help.
‘I feel good about myself,’ said Phelps. ‘I’m glad God put me there at the right time and the right place.’