Without hesitation, stranger leaps over highway barriers to rescue trucker from fiery I-435 crash

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Westbound Interstate-435 will remain closed through 10 a.m. Thursday to repair damage from another fiery crash. The wreck involving a semi-truck happened around noon Tuesday.

A highway camera shows the intense moment when that truck slammed into a barrier on 435.

"All the sudden I heard this huge boom sounded like thunder and looked up. Immediately out the window, I saw this puff of black smoke go up and then saw flames," said witness Clare Zupan.

Zupan and her co-workers called 911 and nervously watched, hoping the driver was okay.

"Some random pedestrian guy like took off in a dead sprint," Zupan said.

That random guy was Ronald Ragan.

"I see a bunch of fire and smoke and see people doing video and see a guy's inside that truck that's on fire," said Ragan.

Ragan says he was driving east on 435 near Antioch moments after police say the truck driver hit the barrier separting I-435 and Hwy. 69.

"When I saw there was a person in there I'm like, 'Oh my God! I've got to get him out,'" Ragan said.

Without hesitation, he leaped over the barriers across the highway and ran to the burning truck and yelled to the driver.

"I was like just grab my hand. He said he couldn't. So he had to kind of climb out. It all just happened so fast," said Ragan.

He and a couple other people scrambled to pull the driver and his dog away from the smoke and flames and once they knew he was okay and EMTs arrived, everyone scattered.

"When we saw him get on the stretcher we were like, okay, good, everyone's okay," said crash witness Azia Washington.

And that happened just in the nick of time.

"If that guy did not come and save him, like probably two minutes later that flat part exploded. They wouldn't have gotten him," said Washington.

Ragan is just glad he and the other good Samaritans were in the right place at the right time.

"Everything happens for a reason," he said.

The trucker's name hasn't been released. Ragan believes the driver had injuries to his leg and some minor burns.



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