Gaston man pulls two survivors from fiery crash - FOX Carolina 21

Gaston man pulls two survivors from fiery crash

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What remains of the Buick driven by James Binks. (Source: Chad Mills) What remains of the Buick driven by James Binks. (Source: Chad Mills)
The location of the collision. (Source: Chad Mills) The location of the collision. (Source: Chad Mills)
The crashed Intrepid. (Source: Chad Mills) The crashed Intrepid. (Source: Chad Mills)

One person died and two others were airlifted to an area hospital following a wrong-way head-on crash near Gaston Thursday night.

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the collision happened just before 9 p.m. on U.S. 321 near Woodcote Drive.

A quiet night for Joseph Trzaska was interrupted by a loud explosion.

"I come running outside, and I seen flames, and I immediately ran over there," he said.

Two cars collided head-on near his front yard.

"The adrenaline definitely kicks in," he said. "You're trying to tell everybody to get away. You're trying to get some people -- the people that are, you know, willing to help or some people that actually can help."

Troopers say 52-year-old James Binks was driving a Buick on the wrong side of U.S. 321.

They say he ultimately crashed and died when his vehicle struck another car.

After the crash, the Buick caught fire.

"Everybody's trying to go over there and pull him out, and his whole arm is on fire," Trzaska said. "You can't even see him anymore. You just tell everybody to back up, you know. There's nothing we can do."

Instead, Trzaska and other bystanders went over to the vehicle and helped rescue the driver and passenger as their car started catching fire too. 

"You know, hey look! You just gotta stay calm," he said. "I know it hurts. Just keep breathing. We can't give you any liquids or anything like that. Just keep breathing. They'll be hear in a minute."

When first responders got there, they flew the survivors to the hospital and found Binks dead.

Troopers say this stretch of road is a dangerous one and Trzaska agrees.

"I mean, I've got four kids here, and you know, it's crazy," he said. "Some of these people fly down here 80, 90, or 100 miles an hour, and the speed limit's 55."

He wants more speeding tickets and more speed limit signs too.

"I mean, there's not even a speed limit sign out here, because when it snowed, it got taken out," he said.

Troopers say the coroner's office will determine if Binks was impaired at the time of the crash.

As for the two survivors, we know one is in fair condition. We still haven't heard about the second victim.

Troopers say both were wearing seatbelts.

LCpl. David Jones says because of the fire, the cause of the crash is not evident. Investigators are awaiting a toxicology report for Binks.

The Highway Patrol continues to investigate.

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