OCEAN CITY — A potential tragedy was averted last week during a two-vehicle crash on Coastal Highway when a Good Samaritan on the scene jumped in to help two elderly victims trapped in an overturned minivan until emergency services arrived.
Around 10:15 a.m. last Friday, a white minivan attempting to turn north on Coastal Highway from 33rd Street on the bayside was struck broadside by a southbound vehicle that had just run a red light. The force of the collision caused the minivan to roll over on its side, trapping the two women inside suspended by their seatbelts.
Ocean City resident Mike Burke and his two sons, Tim and Sean, were sitting in their own vehicle at the intersection and witnessed the collision before springing into action. Burke said this week he and his two sons got out of their vehicle to render aid to the victims in the overturned minivan. Sean Burke, who goes about 6’4” and 200-plus pounds, propped himself against the roof of the minivan to keep it from turning over completely.
Meanwhile, Tim Burke, 27, of Bel Air, a BMW mechanic, sprang into action in a rescue mission for the two women trapped inside.
According to Mike Burke, Tim Burke kicked out the rear window of the minivan and crawled through the vehicle to the front passenger compartment to reach the two women suspended by their seatbelts. Burke was able to open the vehicle’s sunroof to allow fresh air to reach the trapped women and then turned off the engine.
“With gasoline pouring out, he was really concerned the vehicle could catch on fire, which is why he turned off the engine,” said Mike Burke. “Tim just kicked that window in and climbed in there to help those poor ladies. I didn’t know he had it in him, but they say adrenalin kicks in during a crisis. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Once the vehicle was turned off and the sunroof was opened, Burke turned his attention to the victims. Mike Burke said Tim supported the driver, who was still hanging from her seatbelt, for about 45 minutes while Ocean City Emergency Services used the “jaws of life” to extract the victims.
“During that whole time, Tim stayed right with the victims, supporting the driver with his weight while consoling them and assuring them everything was going to be okay,” said Mike Burke. “Because of the severity of the accident, he was really afraid they might go into shock or cardiac arrest.”
The two victims were transported to AGH for treatment of injuries not life threatening. The driver of the other vehicle was cited for running the red light. When Burke finally exited the vehicle, he was congratulated for his efforts by police, paramedics and fire crews on the scene.