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Truckers Rescues Trapped Driver

November 28, 1998

BROOKVILLE, Ohio (AP) _ A good Samaritan trucker rescued a colleague trapped in a tractor-trailer that was engulfed in flames by smashing through a sunroof and pulling the driver out.

The unknown hero didn’t stick around. He was back in his truck and heading east before anyone found out who he was, witnesses said.

``He’s your Lone Ranger,″ said Bret Andrysiak, one of two other truckers who had struggled unsuccessfully to free Cory Swanson from the wreckage of his cab. ``He came in and took off.″

The accident happened Friday about 6:20 a.m. on Interstate 70 near Brookville, about 13 miles northwest of Dayton.

Swanson, 23, was hauling turkeys for Grand Island Express to Columbus, said trooper Brian Aller of the State Highway Patrol in Dayton.

Andrysiak, 36, was hauling electronics and furniture to Bolingbrook, Ill., when he saw Swanson’s eastbound truck veer off the highway and toward the median strip. Swanson later told him the truck drifted after he’d reached down to pick something up.

As the truck hit the guardrail, it rolled over and the guardrail’s support posts ripped open the truck’s fuel lines and oil pan. About 1 1/2 minutes later, the truck’s refrigeration unit exploded and the cab went up in flames, Andrysiak said.

Andrysiak and a second trucker pried open Swanson’s passenger-side door but the disoriented driver couldn’t pull himself through to safety. The heat from the 10-foot flames finally forced Andrysiak to let go of the door.

``Hollywood couldn’t have made a better fireball,″ he said. ``It was a big blazing ball of flaming truck.″

Finally, a third driver picked up a fire extinguisher and smashed a sunroof window above the cab’s sleeping compartment. The truckers reached in and pulled Swanson out.

A three-mile stretch of I-70 eastbound was closed for about three hours after the crash.

Swanson was charged with failure to control his vehicle. He was treated at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton for bumps and bruises.

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