Teen saves woman trapped in burning car

Published: Aug. 7, 2012 at 12:08 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 21, 2012 at 12:10 PM CDT
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The actions of a Manning teen likely saved the life of a complete stranger.

While others stood and watched in horror, 19-year-old Lamar Weldon sprang into action.

Weldon used what he learned in a volunteer fire fighters class to free a 54-year-old woman trapped in her burning car over the weekend.  

A charred path on Highway 301 in Clarendon County is all that's left behind by Brenda Leonaerd's car.

If it hadn't been for Weldon coming down the road, who knows what would have happened.

"She said somebody's in there, somebody's in there," said Weldon.

Those were the first shouts Weldon heard from the crowd gathered near what's now the charred remnant of the crash on Highway 301 just outside Manning.

"The car was lying on its side, like you lay and sleep on your side, it was laying on its side right here and the fire was started here in the back," said Weldon, as he describes what happened.

Leonaerd was trapped inside as the teen and another man went to work.

"I ran back to my car, I got a crow bar and so he met me at the same time," said Weldon. "So me and him were working on the front window to get her out."

"In the firefighter class they tell you what kind of sounds you're going to hear when it's about to blow," Weldon added.

While the other man ran for water, Weldon knew there wasn't enough time, so he cleared the windshield with his grandmother's walking stick.

"When I grabbed both of her hands, I pulled her," said Weldon. "As soon as I pulled her out, about two minutes, boom, the whole car in flames."

Why risk his own life for a perfect stranger?

"That could have been my momma in that car, that's how I look at it," said Weldon.

It's an act his family is proud of him for doing, and calling heroic.

"God blessed me, I just knew God had me, on my side, I knew he wouldn't let me get hurt trying to save another person," said Weldon

While Leonaerd survived this crash, she'll also face charges of DUI from the Highway Patrol in Clarendon County.

Copyright 2012 WIS.  All rights reserved.