Good Samaritan pulls woman from wrecked SUV

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A Good Samaritan was in the right place at the right time when he jumped into action to pull a young mom from her wrecked SUV.

It happened around 6 a.m. Friday on East Shelby Drive, just east of Germantown Road in Hickory Hill.

The sun hadn't even risen yet on Steve Wood’s very first day of work at a house in the Pinnacle Point neighborhood, installing a new roof, when he heard the crash.

"I heard a loud bang, then I heard a skid," he said.

It's a sound he'll likely never forget, but what he saw was even more shocking – a woman trapped inside her crushed and flipped SUV, dangling upside down by her seatbelt.

"[The] seatbelt probably saved her life," Woods said.

So, he did what most of us would probably like to imagine we’d do in the same situation – stepped up and helped out.

"I already had my gloves on because I was working, so I grabbed the door, pulled it open," Woods said, "And I saw the young lady hung upside down, so I crawled in and released the seatbelt and pulled her out."

He says the woman was already on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, who was telling her to stay put.

But Woods' first instinct was to get her out and away from her SUV in case it caught on fire.

"The car was clipped by the gas tank, and I just felt like it would probably be better to get her out," he said.

Investigators say the driver was pulling out of the Pinnacle Point neighborhood on Migaldi Drive, when she was hit by another SUV heading East on Shelby Drive, flipping her SUV upside down and into the median.

"We all get so used to driving, spend so much time in the car, that we really kind of go on autopilot sometimes – and we all do it – but you really can’t," said Shelby County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Earle Farrell. "If they would have been paying attention today, this probably would not have happened."

A carseat on the ground nearby is a stark reminder of how it could have ended.

But for whatever reason on this morning, Woods says that young mother told him her kids weren’t in the car, as they usually were.

"I’m just glad she wasn’t hurt," he said, "Because if you see the car, you’d think she was very injured or maybe even worse."

But – perhaps at least partially thanks to him – she walked away with just a scratch on her arm and another day on this earth.

Farrell says the driver of the second SUV, Matti Thomas-Gray, is charged with failure to maintain a safe lookout.