Two Suffolk police officers and a bystander rescued a woman from her burning vehicle after she was involved in a three-car crash at Middle Country Road and New Moriches Road in Lake Grove Thursday evening.
At about 5:45 p.m., Officers David Vlacich and Bryan Boudreaux were called to the crash scene and saw one of the cars was in flames.
David Ayala, 37, of Centereach, just barely beat them there, he said. Ayala was driving home when he spotted the car on fire and heard screams from other bystanders who had seen what happened.
"Me being my typical nosy self, I moved over to check it out and noticed someone was screaming and someone was in the car," Ayala said. "As I went up to the window and looked in, I saw her slumped over the steering wheel and flames coming up the front windshield."
Seconds after Ayala reached the fire, police officers were behind him, he said. Together, they maneuvered around the blazing car to pull the woman -- identified as Stephanie McNamee, 23 of Holbrook -- to safety.
"It was a great team effort," Ayala said. "When I got to the window and I saw in there, I said this is all my responsibility now, because I'm there -- I just had to do it."
Police said McNamee suffered serious injuries and was taken by Centereach Fire Department Ambulance to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment.
Another driver, Emily Clancy, 63, of Farmingdale, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries, police said. The driver of a third vehicle, Amy Freilich, 23, of Farmingville, was not injured.
Both eastbound and westbound lanes of Middle Country Road were closed near New Moriches Road for several hours, but traffic cameras showed that as of around 11 p.m., both lanes were moving again.