One day after pulling his unconscious mother out of a car just before it caught fire after hitting a tree, a college student from Huntington put the emphasis on her recovery, downplaying his own heroism.
"She's going to need surgeries, multiple surgeries," said Tyler Gianchetta, 18, who suffered a broken hand in the crash.
Taking credit for saving her life, he said Thursday, is "just not really my concern."StoryCops: Unconscious woman pulled from car PhotosLI car accidents
His mother, Susan, 50, also of Huntington, broke several ribs, a hip and pelvis and possibly fractured her neck after she blacked out behind the wheel before slamming into the tree in West Hills on Wednesday, Tyler Gianchetta said.
He said his mom is recovering at Huntington Hospital.
"Really, just out of nowhere, she just started shaking and then we hit a tree," he said.
Gianchetta, who was in the passenger seat, got out, walked around the back of the white Subaru, and managed to open his mother's door and pull her out -- despite his broken right hand.
"I'd do it again, I'd break the other to save her," he said.
He managed to get her a few feet from the car but they were far from safe.
"She was still next to the car," he said. "If the car had burst into flames, she would have been caught."
Gianchetta said he was determined not to leave her there though the danger was apparent. He said he could see gasoline leaking from the car's fuel tank.
Motorists and others nearby stepped in to help.
"We carried her across the street to the neighbor's lawn," said Gianchetta, who is a student at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
"It didn't explode in fire immediately. It caught fire about a minute after I pulled her out," he said.
Gianchetta had considered going back to rescue his mother's possessions but wisely decided to stay put. "I was debating whether or not to go back, because I didn't know how much time I would have."
His hand, now in a cast, might have to be reset surgically.
"It's broken in two places, I think at least one of them is from pulling her out because I felt something," he said.