HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – What could have been a tragedy turned into a story of heroism. A great-grandfather crashed into a power pole, his car burst into flames and he and his grandson were trapped. They were saved in the nick of time.
“I wasn’t even really thinking,” said Hampton’s Nathaniel Brown. “I just got them out.“
Last Wednesday was a day when two strangers met in the most dire of situations.
“That particular day, I just ran to Wal-Mart,” Hampton’s Smitty Bynum said. “It was harmless.“
Bynum, 68, had just run to the store and picked up his 5-year-old great-grandson. They were on the way home, driving down Shell Road in Hampton when he said the little boy dropped something on the car’s floor and he bent down to pick it up.
“I can’t tell how long my attention was away from driving,” Bynum said. “I really don’t know.“
The car crashed into a power pole and right in front of Brown’s home.
“When that hood popped up and I saw those flames, I said, ‘let me go get these people out,’ and I was gone,“ Brown said.
Bynum was trapped in the car: “All the sudden, I am hearing the sizzling. I didn’t believe the car’s on fire.”
Brown reached in and grabbed the 5-year-old. “And then I ran to the other side of the car and assisted the older gentleman to get out,“ Brown said.
Both grandfather and son were safe.
“I must have been out of that car a good six minutes and then she blew all the windows out,” Bynum said. “She burned everything to the tires.“
Hampton police did cite Bynum for driving on a suspended license and reckless driving — two mistakes he admits to.
“When I came around after that air bag smacked me, I said, ‘I am a horrible person, would take my grandson out here with a suspended license,’“ Bynum said.
Without him, that day would have been a tragedy, but Brown doesn’t consider himself a hero.
“It is no different that anybody else would do,” Brown said. “I was just there at the moment, and I just saw that they needed help.“
“That was a miracle that he was there,” Bynum added.
Bynum and Brown have not met since the crash, though, they both say they would like to.
Bynum said the reason why his license was suspended was because he hasn’t paid a couple traffic tickets. He will be in court later this month.