POWHATAN – Three men who came across the scene of a wreck where a woman drove off the side of a road in Powhatan and hit a tree pulled her from the wreckage moments before the vehicle was engulfed in flames.

A nearby neighbor and two men who were driving by responded to the single-vehicle accident, which occurred shortly after 7 a.m. on Friday, March 6 in the 4900 block of Old Buckingham Road, according to Pat Schoeffel, assistant fire chief. They found the driver conscious but dazed in the vehicle and pulled her from the vehicle when they noticed the motor compartment had started to smoke.

Although fire and rescue arrived only six minutes after the 911 call was dispatched at 7:12 a.m., the car fire was fully involved, Schoeffel said.

“When we got there, it was burning from end to end so she definitely wouldn’t have been alive by the time we got there,” he said.

The woman was taken by Medflight from the scene of the accident.

John Moir, who lives near where the accident occurred, said he was loading his Jeep to head to a drill weekend with the Tennessee Air National Guard and was walking back to his house when he heard the accident happen.

He ran over and found the driver leaning against the door, so he climbed in through the back seat to check on her. But when he and a passer-by who came to help noticed the smoke, they decided to quickly remove her “because fire and a vehicle don’t mix,” Moir said.

Moir said he has had training in vehicle accidents and scene response as part of his time with the Guard, adding his unit trains for incidents like this regularly, so he was glad he could be a help in the situation.

“My main concern right now is the woman is alright. I am not hurt. My family is not hurt. No one else was hurt. My main concern is her,” he said.

Moir described the scene as “controlled chaos” and credited Trooper Kyle DeHart, who was one of the other men who stopped, with taking control of the scene immediately. When he arrived on the scene while driving to work, he got the other two men to carry the woman even further from the vehicle as the fire started to take hold.

The woman was taken by Medflight to a nearby hospital.

The accident is currently under investigation and the driver has been charged with driving under the influence, according to the state police.

Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.

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