Passers-by help get him out of vehicle

A man escaped with his life after his car overturned while passing on Highway 33 then burst into flames Friday night.

Two witnesses pulled the victim from the car before it was engulfed in fire.

The driver, a Taft man, suffered minor to moderate injuries but was alert and refusing transport to a hospital, Kern County Fire Department Battalion Chief Brent Moon said.

His name was not immediately available.

The crash took place about 8:15 p.m. on the highway west of the Caltrans yard, just outside of the Taft city limits.

One of the two men who helped pull the victim from his mangled Audi was driving eastbound on the highway when the vehicle passed him, then suddenly went out of control and overturned.

"He tried pass but he lost it," said Josh Abrams. "Something happened, like he had a blowout."

Abrams drove past the car as it overturned and was so close that engine oil or transmission fluid was splashed onto the driver's side of his pickup.

The car was badly mangled in the crash and Abrams said he couldn't even tell what model it was.
"I couldn't tell it was so mangled," he said. "it was gnarly."

Abrams and Kyle Earsley got the victim out of the vehicle and away from the scene before the car was engulfed in flames.

"It was sizzling right there. I thought it was going to blow up," Earsley said.

Highway 33 was closed for an hour after the crash.