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Police, bystanders lift overturned car off trapped 19-year-old driver

Police officers jumped into action along with several bystanders to save a 19-year-old's life after his car overturned.
Posted at 5:47 PM, Sep 21, 2023

A more than 3,000-pound hunk of metal is no match for the strength of a group with a life-or-death mission: To save a 19-year-old man, trapped and unable to breathe under the weight of his overturned car.

The terrifying situation on Sept. 13 was captured on Georgia's Lawrenceville Police Department dash and bodycam footage.

Around 11 p.m., Sergeant Peterson spotted a speeding motorist and pulled off from his stationary point to pursue the white 2020 Toyota Camry, the department said.

Moments later, he came across that vehicle, but it was now overturned on the side of the highway.

Peterson pulled off to the accident, and two people, who told Peterson they were unharmed, immediately crawled out of the car to tell the sergeant that the driver needed help.

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Police said the teen driver had been "partially ejected through the sunroof with his upper body and head squeezed in between the vehicle and the roadway." This obstructed the driver's airway, causing him to have issues breathing.

After learning this, Peterson can be heard on video saying to a bystander, "He can't breathe. You and me are going to lift this car up right now."

Dashcam footage shows multiple other officers and good Samaritans joining in to help lift the car as another person tries to pull the driver out from under it. Peterson can be heard counting to three and rallying the group as they try to work together to help the driver.

After several minutes, the group successfully lifted the vehicle high enough to pull the teenager to safety.

"I truly believe he could not breathe and if we didn't act with the swiftness, it would have been a different outcome," Peterson told Fox5.

The teen driver was hospitalized with several injuries related to the crash, but his three passengers were not injured. He is facing several charges, including speeding and reckless driving.