Lube Shop Operator Recounts Dramatic Rescue Attempts in Four-Car Pileup
The operator of a lube shop rushed to the rescue after a pickup truck careened into three cars and burst into flames Saturday afternoon.
Ali Mansour, operator of Lube Plus across from the Windsor airport, watched from his office window as the cars smashed together, scattering parts across County Road 42. A black Ford F-150 landed in pieces with its roof shredded off.
“It was like time stopped,” he said. “I didn’t make out the crash. Boom, I just saw an explosion.”
Mansour rushed outside with his friend and an electrical contractor who’d been in his office. Other eyewitnesses and employees flooded onto the street to help. The dramatic collision was caught on surveillance video from the side of Mansour’s business.
The video shows a minivan heading in the same direction as the pickup truck come to rest in the ditch with its driver’s side smashed. The pickup truck drives in the wrong lane and rams into the front of a small black car, sending it into the air and spinning toward the lube shop driveway. The truck’s roof is shredded into pieces as the vehicle flips into the air and crashes into an oncoming van.
Miraculously, everyone survived the crash and escaped with minor injuries. The driver of the pickup truck was not wearing a seatbelt and flew out of the vehicle.
One man is charged with drunk driving. Police haven’t yet said whether the driver of the pickup truck was the man charged or whether other charges are expected.
When the crash happened, Mansour said his instincts kicked in. He rushed outside and toward the smoking wreck.
“What used to be an F-150 was crushed so badly I was scared to look inside,” he said.
Mansour is a heavyweight boxing champion who said he learned tips on dealing with emergencies from his father, a former firefighter.
“I tried to figure out the whole picture first, then attack where you can help,” he said.
Across the street was a white minivan smashed along its side, airbags inflated.
“I ran right to it to see if there were any young kids or anybody hurt in there,” he said. There was a couple in the minivan, who gave him the thumbs up that they were all right.
Next he ran to the black Chevy crumpled in front, where it appears from the surveillance video the Ford struck nearly head-on. The driver’s door was too crushed to open, so Mansour pulled open the passenger side and pulled back the airbag to ask an elderly woman whether she was OK.
“She was shivering, screaming, scared,” he said. The woman told him she was all right, but her husband was stuck in the car and his hand was hurt.
[Scene of a serious motor vehicle accident involving two vans, a pickup truck and crossover SUV on County Road 42 near the 7th Concession in Windsor, Ontario.]
Scene of a serious motor vehicle accident involving two vans, a pickup truck and crossover SUV on County Road 42 near the 7th Concession in Windsor, Ontario. JASON KRYK / WINDSOR STAR
As he raced between each vehicle checking how each person was doing, Mansour directed his staff to block the road and call 911.
Next he made his way to the crushed pickup truck.
“I look in the car. There’s nobody inside. The guy’s laying on the road in front of the car,” he said. “I couldn’t believe the guy is alive. But he’s trying to talk … and he wants to move.”
The smoke from the pickup truck had started to thicken and flames were popping out. It was just two minutes after the crash. Firefighters wouldn’t arrive at the scene for another five.
“I tell the guys, get me a fire extinguisher, quick, because you can’t move the guy,” he said. He was worried about keeping the man stabilized.
When firefighters pulled up, Mansour directed them to the elderly man most urgently in need of help. After he’d done all he could, he went back into his office and watched them pry open the vehicle and extract the man and his wife.
“They had to cut the whole car to get him out,” he said.
The firefighters pulled pristine white living room chairs from the trunk. Maybe the couple had just bought them, Mansour thought. Maybe they were in the process of moving before the crash.
“I almost cried,” he said.
Mansour said the crash keeps playing over in his head. Should I have done this? Could I have helped more?
“But thank God nobody got killed or else it would have been really hard,” he said. “These cars are made of cardboard.”
This article originally appeared on Windsor Star.