Caught on Camera: Riverside Man Pulls Driver From Fiery Rollover Street Racing Crash

"I'm not a hero, I'm just a human being."

In an act caught on camera, a Riverside mattress store manager pulled a stranger from a burning car after a rollover crash Tuesday.

"I see a car on fire out my window," Santiago Portillo said. "It looked unreal."

Two cars were street-racing down Indiana Avenue Tuesday when witnesses said one of the drivers lost control, struck a light pole and rolled over onto the sidewalk, Riverside police said.

Portillo was working at Mattress Showroom at 10151 Indiana Avenue early that morning. When he heard the impact and saw the flames, he ran outside to find a flipped car burning up.

He whipped out his cellphone and started recording, but something made him pause.

"I saw an arm hanging out the window and a sweater," Portillo said. "I knew there was a human life in there. I just wasn't going to witness that guy getting roasted."

He put down the phone and jumped into action. The video kept rolling.


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Portillo can be seen running to the car and pulling out the unconscious driver, who was badly injured.

"I went inside the car. There was fire going through the vents," Portillo said.

All while pulling the stranger to safety, Portillo said he saw others watching, and some recording.

"They were just recording with their iPads, filming everything, but no one would come help," Portillo said.

Riverside police are investigating the wreck as a street racing crash.

The crash victim was identified as Ricardo Nunez, who was still recovering at a hospital in Riverside. Nunez' mother said he is doing better.

Regardless of why the crashed happened, Santiago's mother Bridget is just glad her son was able to save the driver's life.

Portillo's young daughters are also calling him a hero.

"I'm not a hero, I'm just a human being," Portillo said. "I'll do it all over again for anybody."

Investigators said the injured driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries. It wasn't immediately clear if he would face any charges.

Riverside police are also looking for the driver of the other car, which appeared to be a white newer-model Scion.

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