FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – A 52-year-old man is alive after three people stopped to help him escape a fiery crash in Franklin.
According to police, Mark Contardi was traveling on McKewen Drive in his Nissan when he crashed into a wall at the end of a highway off ramp.
The car was engulfed in flames within five minutes. Contardi might have perished on the scene if not for the heroic actions of citizens who came across the wreck.
Tommy Campsey was behind Contardi’s car as it sped up the ramp. He said the car was going 50 to 55 mph.
Campsey told News 2 drivers can only go left or right at the top of the ramp, but Contardi’s car did neither.
“He hit the curb, bounced over the curb, and went through the sign,” explained Campsey.
The retired Brentwood police officer of 36 years says he pulled over and quickly jumped into action as flames began to fill the car.
“There was smoke coming from under the hood, which was buckled up.”
By this time, local businessman Keith Allen and mortgage lender Stevie Highers also stopped.
“It was a human in there. I’d do it any day of the week,” Allen told News 2.
“I could see some flames under the hood,” he added.
Campsey and Allen put their own safety at risk to help the unconscious Franklin man, who was slumped behind the wheel.
Campsey says “he was unconscious, limp, lacerations to the face, and barely breathing.”
The airbags had deployed and his legs were mangled in the brake pedals.
“I was breathing the fumes and smoke, but that was not on my mind, only thing was to get him out,” said Allen.
“The fire was coming through the dash. It was engulfed. It was getting hot. I knew we had to act right then and get him out,” said Campsey said. “Keith grabbed him by the shoulders and I grabbed his legs, and we pulled him out and laid him right here.”
When asked if God put the trio in this spot at this time to save the man’s life, the group said this:
“It is possible. They say He puts you in the right place at the right time,” Highers said.
“I absolutely believe that,” Allen adds. “I came by here an hour and a half earlier than I would normally. My office lost power earlier in the day, they sent everyone home, and I happened to be driving by at the right place at the right time.
Allen continued, “I’ll never forget this for rest of my life. I had a death in the family one week ago. I was touched by that, and this is a positive thing to help someone out at the holidays.”
Campsey also says he believes the spirit of God put him in this place at this time to help save the man’s life.
Franklin police say Contardi was involved in a hit and run crash a few minutes before his fiery crash.
Authorities are still investigating but they say it’s possible Contardi may have had some sort of medical event causing the erratic driving.
He remains in extremely critical condition.