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Cordele woman saved from burning car by Good Samaritan

A Cordele woman got stuck in her burning car on the interstate. As car after car passed by one man saw something wrong, and stopped to help.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — A Cordele woman got stuck in her burning car on the interstate. As car after car passed by, one man saw something wrong and stopped to help.

"I actually wish we had more Erics because he didn't have to do what he did. That's why I said everybody passed," Monica Westbrook said.

On her way to work last week, Westbrook realized her car had mechanical problems. It shut down completely on I-75 North and she barely managed to coast to the exit ramp. Then, she noticed her car started smoking, and she could not get out.

 "The smoke started getting heavier and heavier, and that's when I said, 'Oh, my God, this car is going to catch on fire.' Then, I attempted to get out of the vehicle and that's when I realized I couldn't," Westbrook said.

Locked in, she started kicking on the back glass, attempting to get out through the trunk, but nothing worked.

"I was in panic mode -- my car was full of smoke and I just couldn't think. Cars were coming down the ramp and they were just going by. I just knew I was gone," Westbrook said. 

That's when Eric Zastawrny spotted her car. He's a safety manager so he had a fire extinguisher with him in his company car.

"He hit the window -- he had a fire extinguisher. He was actually coming to put the car out, not realizing that I was inside the car. He actually broke the window with the fire extinguisher and pulled me out through the window," Westbrook said.

"Pulled her out and at that time the car was beck into flames and we got away from the car," Zastawrny said. 

Westbrook says Zastawrny comforted her when she needed it most.

"When he pulled me out of the car, I just held onto him, and he just held on tighter," Westbrook said.

Eric says it just felt natural.

"Be a good neighbor, be willing to help somebody out. It clearly goes a long ways," Zastawrny said.

"Eric is definitely a hero and I will be forever grateful for him. Eric now has a new Monica," Westbrook said.

Westbrook says she feels like it was fate that he was there. Thursday, Westbrook showed her gratitude by giving Eric a card and flowers.

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