Darryl F. Starnes helped to rescue Kelley B. Peele from burning, Mechanicsville, Virginia, February 15, 2011. Peele, 48, remained in the driver’s seat of her sport utility vehicle after an accident in which the vehicle left the roadway, struck a tree, and caught fire at its front end. She was conscious but badly injured and trapped by wreckage. Starnes, 70, retired insurance examiner, approached the scene in his vehicle and stopped. He went to the burning vehicle and tried to open its driver’s door but found that it was jammed. He then extended his upper body through the window of that door and worked to release Peele’s safety belt. Another motorist stopped at the scene and joined in the rescue effort. He entered the vehicle head first through the window of the front passenger door and, despite flames by then entering the passenger compartment, worked with Starnes to free Peele, whose legs were trapped. Starnes then began to pull Peele through the window of the driver’s door as the other man withdrew from the vehicle The men took Peele to safety as flames grew quickly to engulf the interior of the vehicle. Peele sustained minor burns to her hands and required hospitalization for treatment of her other injuries.
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