Fiery crash nearly kills teen driver, three other teens rush to rescue him

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 7:18 PM EDT
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DALLAS, Ga. (CBS46) - A Dallas, Georgia teen says he was moments away from likely burning alive had it not been for three Good Samaritans teens who pulled him from the flaming car.

“To know we did a good job, we did a good thing,” recalled heroes Damien and Deuce Steele.

Outside Elijah Jackson’s home, he stood with Damien and Deuce Steele, enjoying a moment of laughter. It’s hard to tell they just met five minutes earlier. They seem like best friends.

Despite no formal introductions until now, the three are far from strangers. Elijah calls Damien and Deuce his [good] Samaritans.

“The light pole, the trees [are] on fire,” a female 911 caller told Paulding County dispatch. “I just passed, it flipped over on fire,” a male driver explained to 911.

A third male neighbor described to dispatch, “it’s a big ‘ole blaze, you can see it.”

The ground is still charred from around 1 a.m. on May 4 at Marshall Fuller Road near Amanda Drive.

Elijah was on his way home from work when he says an animal ran into the road, hitting the back tire of his car.

As it was already wet and rainy that night, the 18-year-old lost control, flipped over into a ditch, and flames swallowed the car nearly taking him too.

“If it could have been just a few more minutes, I would have been burned up already,” the Paulding High School senior said.

Damien Steele, 15, heard the noise, came out of his home and went over to it.

“I just ran, I booked it,” he explained.

Damien realized he needed some help to grab the person inside.

“I’m not going to say I was too weak, but I was too weak,” he laughed. “I had to get my big brother.”

Then came out 19-year-old Deuce Steele.

“I was praying to God he wasn’t dead when I pulled him out. But we got him out and sat him up on the ground. He started waking back up. We dragged him away from the car.”

Deuce’s girlfriend, Taylor Mayfield, stepped in too.

“We couldn’t,” Mayfield paused. “There was no way we could just leave the person-- Elijah just sitting there.”

When Elijah’s mom, Alisha Jackson, got a call from the Paulding Sheriff’s Office, it was not immediately clear if her son would make it.

“I became hysterical.” Jackson continued, “if all that had been burnt up, I couldn’t comprehend how my child could have survived that.”

Although with bruising and burns, Elijah woke up in the hospital relatively unscathed. He began to remember the people who did not forget about him. He told his mom about the people who rescued him.

She did some social media sleuthing and found the good Samaritans who’ll never be strangers to the Jackson’s again.

The group reunited thanks to an interview with CBS46.

“We probably going to be close now forever, I know. I told them if they ever need anything to just let me know cause they saved my life,” Elijah said.

Damien and Deuce told CBS46 about their quick bravery, “You can’t hesitate. That’s a life.”

When Elijah’s car went up in flames, so did his cap and gown, important classwork, and other personal belongings.

His mom says Paulding County High School will work with him to make sure he gets to graduate in two weeks.

The family adds that the message in the heroism is no matter how great of a driver you are, it just takes one moment to possibly change your life.

Elijah is encouraging folks to pay attention on the roads.