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Man Rescues DUI Suspect From Burning Car In Cupertino

Santa Clara Man Saves Man From Burning Car
Posted 6 years ago
Updated 6 years ago
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In a shopping center parking lot in Cupertino, California, a Santa Clara man rescues a man from a burning car, putting his life on the line to save a life:

Aram Harutyunya realized the seriousness of the situation just a few yards ahead of him, while others moved away from the burning car, he never stopped moving towards it.

Then with one swift move, Harutyunya grabbed the man behind the wheel, pulled him out and saved him. "Nobody was pulling him out. I figure we don't pull him out, he's going die so, why not me," Harutyunya said.

There are a lot of reason why not this father and husband.

It was a fire that was growing and spreading. "We just felt the heat, there was a lot of noise coming out of it like hissing, like it was about to explode or something," witness Leo Pekker said.

It turns out the man in the car was drunk. He may have been revving his engine before the fire started. After that, he just wasn't able to get himself out. "He had his eyes open and he was sort of looking around and you could see he was totally lost," Pekker said.

The car owner is charged with suspicion of driving while under the influence, and arson.

But for Harutyunya none of that matters. "I wouldn't leave somebody in a burning car. It's impossible," he said.

Harutyunya also shies away from the term hero, which is what people are calling him.



Inside Edition coverage:

That's when Good Samaritans Aram Harutyunyan and Leo Pekker, who were on their way to lunch, noticed smoke coming out of the car.

Harutyunyan, 30, told that he and his friend were frequent diners at the barbeque restaurant, but what they saw next was a first for both of them.

"Aram saw the guy's leg sticking out of the car and immediately started walking toward it," Pekker told "There were a lot of spectators, but nobody would help the unconscious man."

Pekker said that he could feel a lot of heat and hear hissing coming from the car, even though he filmed his friend from afar: "It sounded like it would blow up any second." 

"That's the thing in your mind that takes all your concentration," Harutyunyan told "Man, I hope it doesn't blow up." 

Moments later, Pekker put down his camera and helped his friend carry the man out of the smoking car, moments before it eurupted into flames.

"It was very dangerous," Jensen said. "The car was on fire."

Pekker said, "I asked the man "What Happened"? He was incomprehensive, looking around and was not sure what happened to him."

"I pulled him all the way to the curb, he looks fine, and we knew the police and firefighters are going to come," Harutyunyan said. "I said, 'Take care,' and I just went to lunch." 

One of the bystanders had called 911, and the man was then arrested and charged for driving under the influence and arson. 

"We plan on giving our heroic citizen an accomodation plaque at the very minimum," Jensen said. "He's a good citizen, brave. He saved a life, while potentially putting his life in danger."

"We were sitting and eating already when everybody arrived," said Harutyunyan, who avoids the term 'hero.' "I'm shy, I don't like the attention."

(via "Man Who Saved Stranger From Burning Car Hailed a Hero: 'Man, I Hope It Doesn't Blow Up'", Inside Edition)

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