SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. - Two Scotts Valley brothers said Monday they were returning home from Sacramento early Sunday morning, when they noticed a driver weaving erratically.
The next second, an accident called them to action as first responders who likely saved a life.
"We were just doing what anyone should do," said 18-year-old Andrew Enns. "For me it wasn’t every a question about helping. It was just something that I felt like I should do."
The pair said their unlikely path to recognition began around 12:30 a.m. Sunday. That’s when Gabe noticed the driver of a car in front of them on southbound Highway 17 moving erratically between the two-lane highway.
"We saw her car go off the road, off (Highway) 17 down a little ditch, and straight into a tree," said 21-year-old Gabe Enns. "I guess it was 60 miles an hour, right into the tree."
The impact started a fire, and the flames grew quickly, from the engine block towards the passenger compartment. The driver, was trapped inside. That’s when Andrew, a U.S. Marine Reserve, snapped into action.
"And I look her over real quickly, and see that she’s not horribly disfigured or anything. And started trying to figure out how to take her seatbelt off," he said.
He sent his brother Gabe, a welder, for a cutting tool, while assessing the victim. Then Andrew cut the female driver out of her seat, and with the help of others who had arrived at the scene, carried the crash victim clear of the burning wreckage.
"When we pulled her out she only had some basic cuts. Nothing broken," said Gabe.
Andrew said he relied on his Marine training to triage the female driver and keep her calm.
"If we had hesitated much, things probably would have been much different. Because it was almost movie-like, like cheesy like, how fast the car lit up in flames. I was like, wow, got her out just in time," he said.
The California Highway Patrol’s San Jose office is investigating the solo-vehicle crash, and its cause.
The two brothers are hailed as heroes by some, who risked injury to save someone they didn’t know.
"Cause it’s the right thing to do for me, it’s just something I’ve been taught," said Gabe. "Always go to help others and be there for other people. It’s just who I am and who I wanna be." Added Andrew, "I would hope if I was in that situation, that somebody would also help me."
Andrew says his Marine training paid dividends, and his brother Andrew agreed. Knowing what to do to help a fallen member of the military worked well to calm and care for an injured motorist.
Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay Bureau. Follow him on Twitter @JesseKTVU and Instagram @jessegontv