Highway 70 Heroes Recall Attempt to Save Couple in Deadly Crash

Action News Now reporter Christina Vitale spoke with two men who witnessed a deadly crash on Highway 70 on Sunday and rushed to help save a couple involved.

Posted: Jan. 22, 2019 5:11 PM
Updated: Jan. 23, 2019 11:19 AM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Action News Now reporter Christina Vitale spoke with two men who witnessed a deadly crash on Highway 70 on Sunday and rushed to help save a couple involved.

Brandon Souders, Jacob Velikonia and Ryan Kennedy were headed southbound on Highway 70 Sunday night when a northbound car came flying head-on toward them. It narrowly missed them but slammed head-on into a couple's car right behind them.

"It was immediate," Velikonia said. "We saw the headlights coming at us and it was one little turn, one little jerk, and then it was immediate sparks in the background behind us so that's when we had to pull over and kind of gather help." 

They had to cut through a sunroof in order to get to the couple to try to save them from the burning car. 

"I noticed that he had a sunroof with a vinyl top, so I jumped up there and my other buddy Ryan jumped up there and we cut the sunroof open with Ryan's knife and we pulled him up and we pulled him backwards off the car and Jake was there, and all three of us grabbed him and pulled him up the road to get him away from the burning car," Souders said. 

California Highway Patrol said that the car that crashed was traveling 90 miles per hour. 

The couple Haight hit, Steve and Cynthia McCrory are in critical condition.

They had just lost their home in the Camp Fire and were getting ready to start their life over in Oregon, according to their daughter-in-law Velma McCrory. 

Steve has a shattered pelvis and facial fractures. His wife, Cynthia, has broken ribs and internal bleeding.

Haight's passenger, 18-year-old Crystall Smith, broke her leg and arm in the crash.

CHP Officer Ryan Lambert said several things played a role in this crash.

"First off speed we know she was driving very fast second it was raining and the road was wet and then third we have some information that leads us to believe the driver was under the influence of some sort of drug also," Lambert said.

California Highway Patrol believes that drugs may have played a role in the crash but it is still under investigation. 

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