Saturday, September 13, 2003

Man handcuffed to steering wheel pulled from burning car



The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - A man handcuffed to the steering wheel of his burning car was rescued by two police officers as flames threatened to ignite the gas tank.

The fire had been set Thursday in the back of the car, said fire Capt. Steve Saltsman.

It wasn't immediately clear how Craig Stanton wound up handcuffed to the steering wheel. Police were unable to interview him Friday because of his injuries. Saltsman said the handcuffs belong to Stanton, who is a security guard.

Stanton, 19, of suburban Grove City, suffered first- and second-degree burns and smoke inhalation and was hospitalized Friday in serious condition. The officers were treated for smoke inhalation and released.

When Officer Keith O'Connor first spotted the burning car, it appeared empty. Then he saw, through the smoke and flames, something moving. He radioed for help, opened the driver's door and told the man to get out.

"I can't come out," Stanton said. "I'm handcuffed."

O'Connor, 25, used a universal handcuff key to free Stanton and pulled him to safety as Officer Chuck Radich, 27, turned a fire extinguisher on the blaze.

Witnesses said they saw another man sitting in the front seat and talking with Stanton a short time earlier.




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