Two Jupiter police officers were able to pull the driver and back passenger to safety.
Photo credit: Jupiter Police Department
Bill Baehler was coming downstairs for his second round of bringing in the groceries to Jupiter apartment when he heard what sounded like a car crash.
Without hesitation, the 39-year-old called 911 and ran to the scene.
The green Cadillac was engulfed in flames, with people inside. Even though he remembers hearing sirens, police officers hadn't arrived yet.
The driver's door was locked, so he went to the front passenger side door which was unlocked. Baehler reached into the burning vehicle and grabbed 22-year-old Oleg Kouznetsov and laid him on the ground.
Soon after the rescue, two Jupiter Police officers were able to pull driver Anthony Humberto Moas, 23, and back passenger Dustin Rauh, 19, from the car.
All three are expected to survive, said Jupiter Police spokesman Sgt. Scott Pascarella.
Baehler, a father of two young children and a sales manager at Napleton's Palm Beach Acura in West Palm Beach, said Thursday that he thinks he was just in the right place at the right time.
"I honestly don't think I saved his life," Baehler said of Kouznetsov. "But I feel pretty good."
It was around 10:30 when Moas crashed the Cadillac around the 100 block of Scripps Way, just north of Donald Ross Road, after coming from Jumby Bay Island Grill.
"When I got there it was like surreal," Baehler said. "There was nobody around. It was just me and the burning car. It was really weird. I started thinking to myself 'I gotta do something here or this could get ugly quick,'" he remembered.
Soon after, a few men in a truck pulled over and helped trying to break the Cadillac's windows open.
That's when Jupiter Police Officers Chad Smith and Telly Tyson pulled up and helped in the rescue. Smith broke the window of the driver's side and pulled Moas from the vehicle. Tyson ran to the rear driver's side, broke that window and pulled Rauh from the vehicle.
The rescue marked the second incident in just over a week in which Jupiter Police were credited with saving someone's life. Jupiter Police Officer Sally Collins and Janine Jenne saved the life of Alex Tobar, a painter who suffered an electric shock while working on the exterior of a building. The two officers remembered what they were taught in training and administered CPR and connected him to a defibrillator.
Tyson, who has been with Jupiter Police for about six years, described Wednesday evening's rescue as "awesome" and said it was his first time saving a life like that.
He too credited knowing what to do from training at the police department.
Baehler said he was thankful the officers got to the scene quickly because he was afraid the car would soon explode.
"It could have been a lot worse if they didn't get there," he said. "Who really knows what could have happened. The car might have blown up, I might be injured."
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue crews quickly extinguished the fire and Baehler was not injured.
The three men were taken to local hospitals and Kouznetsov was later taken to a local jail.
After finishing up at the crash scene, Jupiter Police received a complaint of a disturbance at the Jumby Bay Island Grill where the three men in the Cadillac had just come from.
Rauh and Kouznetsov caused a fight with three girls and then picked a fight with other patrons, according to a Jupiter Police probable cause affidavit.
Kouznetsov allegedly threw a drink on the patron, Moas pushed him and Rauh cursed and shoved chairs at him.
Kouznetsov was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on a charge of disorderly conduct. But for their second stroke of luck, the alleged victim told police he didn't want to press charges against the men for battery.
Copyright 2012 - The Palm Beach Post, Fla.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service