Toddler saved from burning wreckage of Ballard crash

Toddler saved from burning wreckage of Ballard crash
SEATTLE -- A Good Samaritan helped pull a 3-year-old girl to safety after she was trapped in a fiery crash that left her and two others critically injured in Ballard, officials said.

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The three-car crash left little more than two cars and a shell; the middle car sat mangled, charred, and torn apart; its top, peeled back like a can of sardines.

"I seen the black car just run straight into the other cars and then it was just a chain reaction," said Kenny Johnson, who witnessed the accident. "All the cars ran into each other."

Johnson, owner of local restaurant Rizzo's French Dip, said he noticed two people trapped in the middle car and rushed in to help.

"At first, I got scared. I’m thinking the cars are going to catch on fire, and it’s going to blow up and I’m going to blow up in it. But I just said, ‘I’m not going to leave that little girl in there. It ain’t happening.’ You know what I mean? I reacted more than thinking."

Johnson pulled a young girl - believed to be 3- or 4-years-old - from the car, while neighbors put out a fire. They then tried pulling the unconscious driver from the charred Subaru, but he was stuck, Johnson said.

Investigators believe the crash started with a driver speeding northbound on 15th Ave. NW in Ballard around 6:15 pm. The driver hit one car at NW 70th St. and kept going, rear-ending a second car near NW 75th Street, causing a chain reaction crash.

That second car, a black Subaru, went underneath a white Dodge pickup truck in front of it. The truck hit two more cars, bringing the total number of damaged cars to six.

Witnesses say the driver of the black Ford Fusion - who caused the accident - appeared to be having a seizure after the crash.

"I was pouring water on him, trying to get him conscious. By then it was just a mob squad out here. There was 1,000 neighbors out here, you know what I mean?" added Johnson.

Police commended the actions of Johnson - and others - who helped out before emergency crews got to the scene.

"The Seattle Police Department is incredibly impressed with the courage and the humanity – the selfless act of the people out here that put their life in danger to save these other folks before we even got here," said Jeff Kappel, spokesperson for the department.

Ambulances took three people to Harborview Medical Center: the young girl, the man who was driving the car she was in, and the driver of the car who caused the crash. Their injuries are life-threatening, police said.

Johnson said that even though one of the cars caught fire, he couldn't think of anything else but to help.

"The little girl was like an angel in there. Three year old, blond hair, blue eyes, you know what I mean? Couldn’t leave her in there. Everybody else was just panicked because it was such a horrific accident," he said.

Police closed 15th Avenue between 70th and 75th for most of the night for the investigation. There's no word if the driver of the Fusion will face any charges