One man owes his life to complete strangers after they pulled him out of a fiery wreck. Police say Shawn Althaus pulled his jeep out in front of a truck on the corner of North-West 26th Street and Oralabor Road in Ankeny. The truck, which was towing a race car, hit the Jeep then plowed into another car as the Jeep burst into flames. The driver of that other car got out with her three year old son, as bystanders rescued Althaus from the burning jeep.
“I see the SUV coming towards us and all could think of was please God don’t let anything happen to Zander, says victim Nicole Thielges, clutching her son Zander, “And then I hear the crunch of the crash hitting and the pop of my airbags then I hear somebody yelling and see the smoke coming from the other vehicles.”
Witness Betsy Stordahl helped pull Althaus out of the burning wreck. “I thought he was going to be stuck in there and it was going to explode.” she says, “I mean the fire was instant. You could see the fire underneath the jeep and underneath the truck and he’s just stuck there and just like, his arms are coming out and his wife is screaming someone help. My husband’s stuck. Just trying to pull him out and she can’t get him.”
Remarkably Shawn Althaus and his wife, Tonya were the only ones injured, and police say their injuries do not appear to be life threatening. Shawn Althaus is expected to be ticketed for failing to yield.