Image: Taylor Mill Road accident beneath the Interstate 275 underpass in northern Kentucky
Patrick Reddy  /  The Enquirer
Taylor Mill Road accident beneath the Interstate 275 underpass in Taylor Mill Kentucky
updated 2/10/2011 10:54:46 AM ET 2011-02-10T15:54:46

A woman whose car crashed off an overpass in Kentucky and burst into flames was pulled out by passersby hailed as "modern-day heroes," according to reports.

NBC-affiliate television station WLWT reported that the woman, Melissa Robbins, 34, of Independence, was seriously injured in the accident near Taylor Mill, south of Cincinnati, Wednesday afternoon.

Rescuer Bryan Brulport told WLWT the woman had a cross necklace "that was burnt into her skin."

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He said he had been on his way to Northern Kentucky University when he saw the car, upside down and on the other side of the highway.

Brulport, who is studying nursing, told WLWT that he stopped and ran across I-275 to reach the car, where other passersby had already gathered.

"The first thing I asked was, 'Is everyone out? Is everyone OK?' They (others at the scene) said, 'No, we can't get the doors open,'" Brulport said.

He punched and kicked windows out then "climbed in the vehicle and tried to get her out," Brulport said.

Painter Scott Williams of Hamersville, Ohio, helped Brulport pull Robbins out before the flames engulfed the vehicle.

"God put me in the right place at the right time. I was lucky enough to act on instinct," Brulport said.

"(They) saw the car on fire then they rushed over without thoughts of their own safety and helped her," Taylor Mill Officer Karen Spanyer told WLWT. She called them "modern-day heroes," The Kentucky Enquirer reported.

Eric Tungate of Colerain Township, a former firefighter in Taylor Mill and Walton, first kicked in a window while others crouched down to peer inside the vehicle, unsure what to do, the Enquirer said.

Williams used one of his large plastic paint buckets to scoop water and mud from the ground nearby to quiet the growing car blaze.

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Brulport and others dragged the woman a few feet from the car. Another motorist used a fire extinguisher on the vehicle as the first police and emergency crews arrived.

Later, totally engulfed by flames, the car popped loudly with explosions as emergency workers lifted the woman and carried her farther from the vehicle and to safety, the Enquirer said.

A witness told police Robbins was slumped over the steering wheel when she passed him, the Enquirer said.

An emergency medical helicopter flew Robbins to University Hospital in Cincinnati.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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