PARADISE TOWNSHIP, Ill. (WCIA) — It was about 4 a.m. on Sunday when Mattoon Officer Adam Jenkins received the call about a car on fire in a ditch.
“We could see that there was a body down right next to the fire,” said Jenkins. “I mean, it was inches from where the actual vehicle fire was as well as there were just random offshoots of the fire and it was still popping and booming and having flames shoot out.”
He was approached by three people who had stopped to help.
“Those people to just stop right there on the interstate and immediately jumped out to help,” said Jenkins. “I mean, that was huge.”
Korine Tatroe was one of the people.
Tatroe keeps a fire extinguisher in her car at all times just in case.
She was on the road Sunday morning to get to a family arrangement in southern Illinois.
She saw the burning vehicle and decided to stop. Another person stopped, and so did the original 9-1-1 caller.
Tatroe travels a lot for work and has a lot of equipment, including that fire extinguisher.
She says she prepares for the worst and expects the best. In this case, it all worked out.
“It was nice,” said Tatroe. “Oddly, it was as if we already knew what each other were thinking or at least that’s how I felt. We didn’t really have to say much. We just kind of looked at each other and knew what to do.”
The other two men who helped were Sidney Shephard from Georgia and Predrag Pavlovic from Tennessee.
The three strangers helped Officer Jenkins get the driver out of the car. That man was hurt, but is alive.
They still don’t know exactly how the driver ended up in the ditch. Police are still investigating.