A vehicle burst into flames after a drunken driver crashed through a Smithtown Town park Friday evening and had to be pulled out of the vehicle, Suffolk County police said.
John Shea, 42, drove into the underbrush and scrub of Laurel Drive Park in Smithtown before his sport utility vehicle caught fire, police said.
A resident living nearby heard the noise about 7:30 p.m. and rushed to the burning Ford Escape, police said.
“He was sitting in the backyard of the house, and he heard the commotion,” said Fourth Precinct Officer Dan Perner, who came to at the scene.
The rescuer spotted a man behind the wheel and grabbed him, police said.
Commack firefighters were putting out the flames when Perner arrived: “I just saw a big ball of flames in the park.”
No one was injured, and no one was in the park at the time of the crash, police said.
Shea, of Smithtown, was charged with felony driving while intoxicated because he has a previous DWI conviction, police said. Arraignment details were not immediately available.
“He kind of walked away from the vehicle and into the street,” Perner said, “and we observed that he was intoxicated.”
The local resident’s name was not available Friday night, but police said Shea did not seem grateful he was the beneficiary of a lucky save.
“Did he thank anybody? No,” Perner said. “He was belligerent.”