Good Samaritans in Santa Ana are being lauded a day after a crowd of them rushed to a violent crash to help and driver and passenger involved in the wreck.
The crash occurred on Monday at the crossroads of an elementary school and a shopping center.
Witnesses say the sound of the crash brought people from all directions, people who chose to help after a white sedan seems to lose control and smashed into a semitrailer.
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Surveillance video shows the crash, as the vehicle appears to bounce back then flip over on it's roof. Seconds before, it had been clipped by a stake bed truck and careened over the center median, police say.
"When the car was flipping and when they hit the trailer, I was like they're gone," Maria Villegas, a witness, said.
Villegas watched from her corner of the shopping center.
Police say what happened next was something they never expected. People came running from all directions. Strangers used brute strength and worked together to upright the car. Two people were still inside, the 25-year old driver and his 24-year old passenger.
"It was like 20 people, some cut hands, one girl cut leg. I think the ambulance took her too," Villegas said.
The crash scene left a block-long debris field.
Police say they have still not determined who was at fault. Witnesses say the driver of the semitrailer tried to brake as he saw the car coming towards him, but it just kept going, end-over-end, until it stopped upside down.
Paramedics had to cut the roof off the car to rescue the couple inside. Both were taken to the hospital.
The driver is said to be critical, but alive.
"There is Bridgestone, the tire logo and word, tattooed on the metal of the roof," Cpl. Anthony Bertagna of the Santa Ana Police Department said.
Police aren't sure if the initial truck driver ran a red light or not, but they say it is rare to see so many good Samaritans jump in to help.
"There was leaking gas, leaking oils. The impact could have ignited and then we would've had a disaster on our hands," Bertagna said. "I don't think these people were thinking about it. These were people trying to help other people."