Frankie Smith said flames were quickly consuming the wrecked car. And he said several motorists drove past the burning vehicle without stopping.
State troopers say Smith literally saved the lives of two men trapped in the burning car.
Smith said he saw what looked like a car on fire as he drove to work on I-95 early Wednesday morning right at line between Cumberland and Robeson counties.
Smith said he noticed no other motorist had stopped, so he decided to check it out, and found two men injured and trapped in the burning car.
"I tried the driver's side door first but it wouldn't open," Smith said. "Went around to the other side and helped the passenger out first.
"He told me his leg was broken so I had to pick him up and carry him and ran him across the road," he said, "and I went back to the car and went to the passenger side and got him (the driver) through that way, and went back to my truck, and the car, the front of the car was engulfed in flames."
Within minutes the Parkton Fire Department was on the scene.
The Highway Patrol said the driver of the car apparently fell asleep and crashed into the back of an abandoned box truck sitting on the roadside.
An investigating trooper said had Smith not stopped, the two men would likely not have survived.
Later in the day, at the hospital, one of the injured men thanked Smith for saving his life. Smith said that's when the magnitude of his selfless act hit him.
"He wanted to thank me for saving his life on his birthday; he turned 20 yesterday," Smith said. "I know I saved both their lives; it just feels good to be able to do something like that."
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Highway hero saves 2 men from burning car on I-95