A group of bystanders jumped into action and helped extricate the victims of a San Diego rollover crash on State Route 54 on the Interstate 5 South interchange. Among the helpers was a 71-year-old man who felt it was prudent to jump into the action and help as well.
A red Toyota sedan swerved to avoid a red cushion Sunday afternoon westbound on the SR-54. The vehicle being driven by a woman then struck a black GMC Yukon SUV being driven by Mariano Avenido of Spring Valley. He was planning on taking his passengers who were his wife, aunt, four kids and a neighbor to spend an afternoon down at the beach. When without warning a collision sent his vehicle out of control.
“The first time she hit I was ok. The second time she hit the front of my car,” Avenido told reporters.
After colliding with the Yukon for a second time the sedan rolled off the embankment. Then the SUV, according to witnesses, rolled two to three times before landing on its side.
Joe Bruglio, a 71-year-old man, was driving by the area when he witnessed the accident. Without hesitation he rushed to help three other men attempting to pull the trapped family members from their vehicle by lifting the vehicle slightly to allow the trapped passengers an exit.
Then more people joined to aid the extrication and while they lifted the SUV, Bruglio was able to help the children slip out of the vehicle which was on its side.
“I grabbed a kid and pulled one out, then another one. The guy says one more, three of them. I pulled three of them out of there” said Bruglio.
Bruglio, a resident at a senior apartment complex in downtown San Diego told reporters that he did not need to think twice before deciding to help.
“My back was hurting, but I didn’t care. I’m gonna break my back trying to pick this car up,” he said. “Boy if I was 30 years old I would lift this thing right up.”
Per reports, all of the victims in the SUV returned home from the hospital, including a 61-year-old woman who was ejected from the vehicle.
Avenido told reporters that he feels he received a second chance on life. And that he is also thankful for all those who helped him and his family in their time of need during the wreck.
“Thank you very much to all those people who have a good heart,” he said.
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