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Man saves unconscious woman from car on I-15 moments before it’s engulfed in flames

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Posted at 9:02 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 12:21:05-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A driver on Interstate 15 is credited with saving the life of a woman who was unconscious inside of a burning car.

In the early hours of July 11, Spencer Woodbury was driving south on I-15, heading to Lehi from Salt Lake City. He approached 2700 South when he noticed a vehicle on the shoulder of the Interstate.

“I noticed it was by itself and there were a few flames underneath it, which I thought was really odd, and the fact that it was by itself -- nobody was pulling over,” said Woodbury. “I thought, 'I better pull over and just check and see what’s going on there. That doesn’t seem right to me.'”

He pulled over and backed his truck up close enough to the car to see flames coming from the bottom. He and his passenger ran to the car to see if anyone was inside.

“As soon as we got to the car and opened the door, a billow of smoke came out of the car and we see this woman hunched over, unconscious in her car,” said Woodbury, who noticed the airbags were deployed. “While I’m reaching over to pull her out, we can feel the flames come up around my legs as I’m pulling her out... I thought, 'Man, this car is about to go up in flames.'”

He got the woman out of the car and carried her back to his truck. As he approached his own vehicle, the woman’s car went up in flames.

“I just was looking at this woman just thinking to myself, 'This is your lucky day because you would be burning up in flames right at this moment,'” Woodbury said.

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Minutes later, law enforcement and firefighters arrived on scene. Fire crews extinguished the fire, which also spread to nearby grass.

The woman was taken to a local hospital. Utah Highway Patrol determined that prior to the fire, her vehicle was involved in an accident with another vehicle. Troopers say she rear-ended a van that was pulled over on the opposite side of the highway, which likely explains why the airbags were deployed. Troopers also say the woman was cited for driving under the influence.

Woodbury admits he was at the right place at the right time and simply thought something seemed “off” about the car.

“I don’t believe in coincidences in life, and I believe I was there at the right time at the right moment, and I happened to be in Salt Lake," he said. "It was an eye opener for me... I may have saved her life, but maybe she saved mine too.”