(WTVM) - A Hamilton woman is being hailed as a guardian angel after she risked her own life to help a complete stranger out of a burning 18-wheeler. The family of Quintin Davis Sr., the driver of a fuel tanker that exploded on a busy highway, is praising Finney for helping him.
"Do you know that the family is calling you a guardian angel?" News Leader 9's Brittany Dionne asked.
"No, I just did what anybody should do," Paula Finney said.
On Wednesday, Nov. 5, Finney and her Yorkie "Precious" were driving to Columbus on I-185 when she says it appeared she drove onto a movie set.
"Dust was flying. The car going across the median, hit the gaurdrail, bounce off of it and come back under the diesel tanker," Finney recalls.
The car burst into flames. The 10,000 gallon fuel tanker, filled to the brim, was only inches away.
"As his tanker was catching on fire, he was jumping out," Finney says. "He tucked and rolled into the median. The look on his face was like, 'thank God I made it out of there'. He looked like a stunt driver, jumping out of his vehicle."
Finney says she got out of her car and rushed over to Davis.
"I said, 'well get in my car'. I then asked if we had time to go forward on the highway or backup. He said, 'either way is fine, but what ever you do, you need to do it really fast, because she's about to blow, I just got loaded," Finney says.
Finney says she sped off, stopping about a 1/8 of a mile up the highway. She says as they got a safe distance away, she noticed Davis was shaken up and possibly going into shock.
"The look on his face was like, 'Thank God I made it out of there alive'. He was going, "oh God, oh God, oh God," Finney says.
"What made you stop and let him into your car," Dionne asks.
"I couldn't leave. When I saw him jumping out of his truck like a stunt driver, I had to do something," Finney responds.
The family may call her an angel but Finney says she's just doing for others what someone did for her family long ago.
"My dad was a truck driver for almost 40 years and someone did that for him when he had a bad accident," Finney says.
Finney credits Davis' driving to saving lives. She says he handled the truck well after the collision. Davis' wife, Erica, says he is still pretty shaken up. She says he's driven trucks for 11 years, is a veteran, and father of two boys.
We are working to gather details on the driver of the other car. We will update this story once those details become available.