Passenger trapped after rush-hour crash; passers-by rush to battle blaze

Locals save woman from car fire

GREENFIELD — Good Samaritans pulled a 75-year-old woman from a burning car after she became trapped following an accident early Wednesday.

Mary Lou Poe and Rebecca Kramer, both 75 of Greenfield, told police they were headed north on State Street when they noticed a bit of smoke coming into the car from the engine compartment. Poe, who was driving, made a U-turn, thinking she would try to get home quickly before the car died.

But as she headed south, the smoke grew thicker, Poe told police. And though she tried to keep driving, it soon became clear to passers-by something more serious was wrong, police reports state.

People driving alongside Poe’s car began honking and waving, trying to catch her attention. Behind the wheel, Poe began to panic, police said.

She swerved, striking one of the cars whose driver had tried to warn her the engine had caught fire, then pulled off the side of the road and jumped from the car while it was still moving, reports state.

She called to Kramer to get out of the car, which came to rest against a set of mailboxes, pinning the passenger door shut.

Passers-by rushed to the scene, and the driver of the tan vehicle also stopped to help, police said.

When they were unable to open Kramer’s door or pull her through the driver’s side door, the driver of the tan vehicle got back behind the wheel and drove his car into Poe’s, pushing it free from where it was pinned, police said. Those who stopped were then able to open the door and pull Kramer free.

Meanwhile, several area business owners ran out with fire extinguishers, trying to keep the fire under control until help arrived.

Kramer was taken to Hancock Regional Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation and minor injuries to her legs, reports state.

One of the passers-by who stopped to help was also treated for smoke inhalation, police said.

Officers who responded to the scene commended the citizens who stopped to help out.

“The actions of these Good Samaritans possibly saved the lives of two individuals and definitely resulted in a successful and tremendous outcome of this incident,” Greenfield Police Lt. Matt Holland said in a news release.

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Noelle Steele is editor of the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3232 or