Gabriel Lascurain will never forget that night.

Early Monday morning, a shuttle driver for Bend’s B&R Auto Wrecking in Deschutes County, Oregon, was driving down Highway 126 when he saw a crashed automobile engulfed in flames over the embankment, with a young man and lady trapped inside crying for assistance.

Lascurain claimed he wasn’t sure what was going on at first, but quickly understood it was a ‘fight or flight’ situation, and around 2:15 a.m., he made the decision to fight.

He leapt over the embankment and, with the help of his tow truck’s equipment, managed to remove the two passengers from the automobile right before it detonated.

“Nothing like how movies depict it,” Lascurain told News Channel 21 Wednesday. “It was so much harder to actually deal with, physically, no matter how strong I was, and emotionally. The thoughts and decisions I had to make at a split-second — I had to just put myself aside and say, ‘I have to do this.'”

“There was a moment when I literally thought, ‘I might die,'” Lascurain recalled. “‘If I get close enough to that car right now, if I got back and get him, I’ll die.'”

However, Lascurain stated that quitting up was not an option, especially given the stakes: two lives.

“I was just kind of holding (the female’s) face, and just trying to comfort her, and she reminded me of my daughter,” Lascurain said. “She was a blondie — my daughter is a blondie. I’m thinking, ‘Father’s Day is coming up. I couldn’t imagine losing a child this close to Father’s Day.'”

According to Oregon State Police, the motorist fell asleep behind the wheel and went off the road.

Lascurain believes he would not have spotted the flames if he had arrived at the site just a few minutes sooner. They could have already died if he arrived one minute later. He wasn’t intended to be there at that moment, but he believes it was fate.

“There’s got to be a purpose I guess,” Lascurain joked. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just grateful that I was there. It makes no sense how I was there right at that exact same minute, right on time. Why did I leave early that morning? Why did I stop — make that one stop before I even got to that point on the road? Why? There’s a whole bunch of whys, but it all worked out.”

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