KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A metro man says he did everything he could to help a stranger, but it wasn't enough to save a great-grandpa killed in a fiery interstate crash. The wreck happened Tuesday on I-435 and Bannister Road in Kansas City, Mo. Family members identified the victim as 85-year-old Arthur Garnett.
Steve Beverly was driving along I-435 around lunch time when he noticed another car was stalled in the middle of the highway.
“I just got a sinking feeling,” Beverly said. “I knew that wasn’t going to end well.”
Passing by but slowing down, Beverly kept an eye on his rear view mirror, where Garnett's car was stalled.
“There was a car rolled up behind him,” Beverly said, “and swerved out of the way at the last minute and the car behind that car was the one that smacked him.”
Suddenly, Garnett’s car burst into flames.
"It ruptured the gas tank and immediately on fire,” he said. “I mean, big fire, not just a little one underneath the car. I mean the whole back-end and the interior went very quick."
It was an intense fiery crash that ignited something inside Beverly, who pulled over to the side of the road, grabbed a pair of gloves, and ran to help.
“The windows were already broken out,” he said, “and his seat was laid back from the collision and I tried to open the door and it just wouldn’t open, and even with gloves on, I could only hold on for a couple of seconds.”
The car's metal was heating up as other drivers stopped to help too.
“It literally was like a torch in there,” Beverly said. “That was surprisingly how hot it was.”
But the flames soon engulfed the car, and Beverly said they all felt helpless.
“So close, yet I couldn’t help him,” he said. “I could’ve reached in and shook his hand and I couldn’t help him.”
Garnett, a loving father and great-grandfather, died at the scene. Beverly delivered this message to his loved ones:
“I want the family to know that I really tried,” he said. “All the people there did really try to help get him out, but it was not going to happen. There was nothing else to do.”
Garnett's son talked with FOX 4 earlier Wednesday. He told us he's heartbroken, but he appreciated everyone who stopped and tried to help his dad.