GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — New London’s chief of police is trying to track down two bystanders who saved a person in a car Friday after a home heating oil truck crash fueled a massive blaze on the Gold Star Memorial Bridge.
Wallace “Wally” Fauquet III, a 42-year-old from Gales Ferry and the truck’s driver, died at the scene. Two others were injured.
Police said that a Toyota Avalon’s tire blew, causing the vehicle to swerve in front of a merging home heating oil delivery truck. The tanker hit the back of the passenger vehicle, which caused the truck to roll over and catch fire.
Off-duty New London Lt. Cornelius Rodgers jumped into action after the crash, along with Alex Tumbaco, a worker for the Advanced Group construction company.
“I’ll hold onto this forever,” Rodgers said. “That was one of the most important moments of my life to see people just come together and help someone that will never know. But we just wanted to do good.”
The owner of Advanced Group construction company spoke to News 8 on the Tumbaco’s behalf because English is not his first language.
“He’s like, ‘I truly don’t know what I was thinking,'” David Preka said. “‘All I could see was a bunch of fumes, a lot of fire coming toward it, but I just couldn’t go and drive by, and seeing these people in need and go anywhere.'”
Within seconds of helping, the whole car burst into flames.
“So, they got that person out just in time,” Preka said.
The state department of transportation said that despite the fire, the bridge is structurally sound. It has reopened to traffic in all except for the far right lane and the pedestrian walkway.
Preka praised Tumbaco’s decision.
“I would have been surprised if he didn’t stop,” Preka said.