NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A man who witnessed a fiery wrong-way wreck on the Golden Glades Interchange in Northwest Miami-Dade said he sprang into action to help save a passenger who was trapped inside an SUV that plunged off the highway.
Investigators said the driver of a silver Chevrolet SUV crashed into the victims’ Subaru SUV head on while driving against traffic, early Tuesday morning.
Speaking with 7News on Friday, Scotty Rogers said he heard the impact, then saw the Subaru SUV plummet to the ground below.
“I actually heard the crash, and I looked up and I saw debris, and then I saw the car fall down off the flyover,” he said.
Authorities said the driver of the Subaru was pronounced dead at the scene.
Rogers said he saw a passenger trapped inside the vehicle.
“When we first got to the car, the guy was like, ‘Man, please, get me out of here, get me out of here,'” he said.
Rogers said the SUV was engulfed in flames, and along with a road ranger rushed to get the passenger out.
“We had to actually cut the seat belt in order to get the guy out, and once we cut the seat belt, we pulled him out and saw he was in bad shape,” said Rogers
According to witnesses, the driver of the Chevrolet made a U-turn at a median near the interchange and began driving southbound on the northbound express lanes before he slammed into the Subaru.
”The impact of the collision was so powerful that it caused the Subaru to drive over the barrier, driving off of the overpass onto the ground, where it burst into flames,” said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Alejandro Camacho.
FHP investigators identified the driver of the Chevrolet as 38-year-old Irwin Rockwell.
Officials said the surviving victim inside the Subaru, identified as 41-year-old Ed Gonzalez Ayala, was left with severe injuries. He was transported to Aventura Hospital where he is listed in critical condition.
Hid family says he is now fighting for his life.
“It’s not looking too promising. I still have my deep faith in God that, even if he comes out handicapped, that we’ll take care of him. That’s what we are: his family,” said his father, William Gonzalez.
Rogers said he’s grateful he was able to help, and he hopes the victim can soon be reunited with his family.
“I just hope that, if you see something like that happen, that you would take the time to stop, because if we had kept going, both of those guys wouldn’t have made it,” he said.
Rockwell was also taken to the hospital where he was treated and discharged. He was then arrested and booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
Rockwell faces one count of vehicular homicide and is being held without bond. Investigators said his charges may be upgraded because they found an empty beer bottle in his vehicle. They are waiting for his bloodwork results to come back to determine whether or not he was under the influence.
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