GAYLORD, Mich. — A fiery semi-truck crash could have turned deadly if not for the quick actions of three good Samaritans early Monday morning.
"I could see the tractor trailer rolled over on it's side, with pretty much the back three-quarters of the trailer engulfed in flames," said Jeff Hunter from Gaylord, one of the good Samaritans who helped saved Michael Bennett, the driver of the semi.
"The initial ball of flames was incredibly high. Maybe 50 to 60 feet up."
Police say Michael was hauling 8,000 gallons of gasoline on I-196 near exit 26 in South Haven, when his trailer toppled over as he exited the highway. Hunter and Michael's family say he swerved to avoid hitting a deer.
Michael was found just outside his cab after the crash, and by then the semi had already started to burn. The other two Samaritans - Chad Edgington and Shawn Crittendon - were already approaching Michael when Hunter arrived.
"They heard Michael crying for help so they were able to locate him," Hunter said. "So as soon as I came up, Sean and Chad were getting ready to move him. And I said, 'Let's go!' So we just started pulling him and moving him out of there."
The semi became fully engulfed soon after Michael was rescued.
“I’m just glad all 3 of us were there. And by the grace of God, everybody is all right," Hunter said.
FOX 17 spoke with Michael's wife, Kea Bennett, who says she and their two daughters were shocked when they heard the news. Kea says that he suffered third degree burns to his legs from the fire, and that his hands are paralyzed, but he's talking.
"He doesn't really remember anything besides lying next to the fire," Kea said. "He tried to move but his body wouldn't let him."
Kea thanked all three good Samaritans, saying that she would like to treat them to dinner for saving her husband's life.
"It could've been a lot worse. I mean, I wouldn't have a husband and my daughters wouldn't have a dad," Kea said. "But he's ok. He survived that crash."