Locals save crash victims from burning vehicle

It was an occasion which required the actions of Good Samaritans to step up and save lives. The lives of a father and daughter from Sharpsburg were saved March 30 when Sharpsburg resident Mike Burgess at the scene of the accident removed them from their burning car and several others took them to a safe area and attended to them until public safety officers arrived.

Ga. State Patrol Sgt. James Corbett said the two-car accident involving a Lexus SUV and a Porsche occurred at approximately 7 p.m. at the traffic signal at Ga. highways 34 and 54 at the entrance to the NCG Cinemas area.

Corbett said the driver of the Porsche, a Sharpsburg resident, had been traveling eastbound on Hwy. 34 and was making a left turn to enter the theater parking lot as the Lexus SUV was traveling westbound on Hwy. 54. The driver of the Porsche did not yield and was struck by the SUV, Corbett said.

Coweta County Dep. Fire Chief Todd Moore said he received information that Sharpsburg resident Mike Burgess, who was at the scene, responded as a Good Samaritan and removed the father from the Porsche.

Moore said Burgess then attempted to remove the 18-year-old from the passenger side as smoke and flames began to engulf the car. The woman could not be removed from the passenger side due to the damage to the car sustained in the wreck, so Burgess went back to the driver’s side and made three attempts to free the woman from the seatbelt before he finally succeeded and was able to remove her from the car, said Moore.

“With a car full of smoke and flames, he put himself in peril,” Moore said of the actions by Burgess, noting that others might have been involved in the rescue. “If he had not, (the 18-year-old) might not have survived.”

Moore said the driver of the Porsche sustained serous injuries and was flown to Atlanta Medical Center and his 18-year-old daughter was transported to Grady Hospital in Atlanta.

There were no apparent injuries to the driver and passenger of the SUV, both Tyrone residents, said Corbett.

Newnan resident Christopher Barlow and his wife were on Hwy. 54 heading home to Newnan after visiting his parents in Peachtree City. Barlow said he came upon the accident, stopped his car and ran to the burning vehicle.

Barlow said Burgess had already pulled the man from behind the driver’s seat then worked to free the 18-year-old, who Barlow said he believed to be the man’s daughter.

“We couldn’t see her face (while still in the car) for the flames,” Barlow said, explaining that some at the scene thought the car might explode and again noting the efforts of Burgess to save two lives. “I just prayed to God. If it had been five more seconds she would have been gone.”

Once she was freed Burgess handed the injured 18-year-old to Barlow, who carried her to the side of the road and used his jacket to make a pillow for her.

Barlow said a couple from Nashville who were at the scene also responded. It was the woman from Nashville who carried the injured man from the car after Burgess got him out, Barlow said.

Reflecting on the circumstances of the accident, Barlow on Wednesday spoke of Burgess and his heroic actions along a stretch of road in east Coweta County just a few days earlier. And he spoke of a small handful of others who, like Burgess, found themselves in an unpredictable and desperate situation. It is during those occasions in life where each individual has to determine what course of action, if any, he or she will take.

“Sometimes you have to step up and do the right thing,” said Barlow.

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