HILLSBORO, Ore. -- An off-duty Washington County Sheriff’s deputy and a 22-year-old Good Samaritan saved the lives of two people Saturday, when they pulled the unconscious bodies of a driver and passenger from the wreckage of a burning vehicle.
At approximately 8 p.m. Saturday night, a Jeep sped through a stop sign at Southwest Springhill Road east of Gaston and slid off the road into two drainage culverts and two trees, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
The Jeep hit with such force that the engine and transmission were torn from its body, with the transmission landing 45 feet down the road.
The SUV caught fire and rear passenger Christian Bandmann, 23, escaped the vehicle.
Off-duty Washington County Sheriff's Corporal Cheryl Crecelius happened upon the scene and saw the driver and front passenger unconscious inside the Jeep, deputies said.
Creclius pulled Jason Eaton, 25, from the passenger seat and placed him a safe distance away from the fire. Then she went back for the driver.
Inside the Jeep, fire had engulfed the engine and flames were coming through the floorboard, deputies said.
Creclius attempted to free the driver, Mark Vanvleck, but his legs were pinned between the dash and seat. Creclius recruited the assistance of a 22-year-old Nickolas Kingston, and together they were able to pull Vanbleck free before flames consumed the vehicle.
"It was absolutely vital that we got him out immediately," Kingstron said. "About 30 seconds after we drug him away from the fire it was fully engulfed."
Kingston is a volunteer firefighter from Forest Grove and currently enlisted in the US Navy in Oak Harbor Washington. He said his girlfriend also helped, by calling 911.
As for the victims, Christian Bandmann was taken by Life Flight to Oregon Health & Science University. Eaton and Vanvleck were both taken by ambulance to a local hospital. All three men survived.
Mark Vanvleck was cited for DUII, reckless driving and two counts of assault, deputies said.
An investigation was ongoing.
Below, raw by-stander video