DURHAM-- A Wallingford woman made a daring rescue on Wednesday afternoon after witnessing a two-car crash at the intersection of Route 68 and Route 157.
Christine Mansfield said around that 1 p.m. she saw the cars collide and that one went up in flames. "The oil underneath that car was dripping downward on the hill towards this other woman's car and started catching fire," said Mansfield, who said she heard a woman inside the second car screaming for help.
"I said, 'OK, we got to get you out of this car. It's gonna blow,'" Mansfield told Fox CT.
She did not have much time to think. "My only thought was, she's somebody's mother," Mansfield said.
Adrenaline took over. "She was screaming for help and I said, 'I will. Let's do this. ' And I picked her up and we got up," she said.
Mansfield was able to pull the driver, a woman in her 60s, to safety, all while flames flickered and smoke billowed in the background.
Her rescue did not stop there.
"I started directing people, so people brought blankets, I was able to get a fire extinguisher out of the woman's car and gave that to somebody. I was delegating at that point. I was shaking," said Mansfield, who is a Wallingford Town Council member and said her leadership experience kicked in.
"I don't mind organizing things. I can definitely rally a group to do things to help people, so I think it's probably just instinctual at that point," she said.
Wherever the strength came from, Mansfield joked about needing to workout.
"I think a person's weight like that, it's a dead weight if you will. It was very difficult to kind of get that intitial thrust, but adrenaline kicks in. More arm strength training might help," she said, adding on a serious note that she is thankful to the rescue crews that eventually took over.
"I don't know how they put themselves in the situation to help people like us every single day, so they're the heroes of the day. I think we're just bystanders in that," Mansfield said.
According to an accident report filed by Connecticut State Police, both drivers were taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital with neck and back injuries.
Police cited both drivers with traffic infractions.