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Off Duty Deputy Saves Two People From A Burning Car

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An off duty sheriff's deputy makes a daring rescue that saved two lives in Washington Saturday night.

Surviving a crash that ends like this could be called lucky but in this case it was all because a hero was in the right place at the right time.

"I just was thinking that I couldn't let these people die. I didn't want to see anyone die there, stuck in a car," recalls Cheryl Crecelius.

Cheryl Crecelius is a Corporal with the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

It was her night off when she saw the worst crash in her 14 year career.

She continues, "I was really concerned that they weren't going to be alive by the time I got there."

Deputies say a jeep sped through a stop sign near southwest Springhill and Laurelwood in Gaston.

It went off the road and hit two trees.

Crecelius heard it before she saw it.

 When she got closer to the SUV one man was out but the other two were unconscious and trapped inside with flames already at their feet.

"I climbed in the vehicle, released their seat belts and pulled one of the guys out over the passenger seat," explains Crecelius.

She got the passenger away from the jeep. But when she went back for the driver, he was pinned.

 She says, "I was making the decision, if I can't get him out right now I'm going to have to leave him in the car and let him burn because there was nothing I could do about it."

Thankfully another good samaritan got there just in time and together they got the last guy to safety.

"He stepped right up when we needed him to, and if it wasn't for him we wouldn't have gotten the driver out. There was no way," says Crecelius.

Crecelius says that's why she'd do it all again.

 "I just think that it's the right thing to do. I would hope somebody would do it for me," says Crecelius.

Both people rescued from the car are out of the hospital.

The third guy, who got out on his own, is still in serious condition.

Deputies say the driver had been drinking before the crash.

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