Joseph H. Grayson helped to save Mark T. Yates from burning, Indianapolis, Indiana, January 4, 2005. Unconscious, Yates, 41, remained in the driver’s seat of his automobile after an accident in which the car struck a concrete abutment of an overpass. Fire broke out in the vehicle’s engine compartment. Grayson, 60, hearse driver, was in a funeral procession that came upon the scene. He stopped and with other men from the procession approached the burning car. They tried without success to open the driver’s door then responded to the passenger side of the vehicle. When one of the other men opened the front door, he and Grayson entered the car for Yates, despite flames nearby in the engine compartment and beginning to enter the interior through the dashboard. They tried to move Yates, but he was trapped in the wreckage. Another man then opened the car’s rear passenger-side door, entered, and moved toward the driver’s side. He reached over the front seat and manipulated both the steering wheel and Yates’s legs to free him. Grayson and the other man in the front-seat area pulled Yates across the seat and out of the vehicle, but while they did so, the rear door was closed, leaving the third rescuer inside the smoke-filled car. He exited the vehicle safely then helped Grayson and the other men drag Yates to safety. Within a minute, flames engulfed the car. Yates required lengthy hospitalization for treatment of his injuries, but he was not burned.
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