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IDOT honors worker who saved women from burning vehicle on Kennedy Expressway

CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Transportation on Wednesday honored a worker who rescued two women from a burning car on the Kennedy Expressway earlier this month.

IDOT secretary Omer Osman honored minuteman Stephen Newcomb for his service and bravery following the events of March 1.

Newcomb was on patrol amidst the early morning hours when he saw several cars pulled over on the Kennedy and decided to turn around and investigate. According to IDOT, moments earlier, around 2 a.m., a Toyota Camry crashed into an I-90 southbound wall near Addison Street.

The vehicle struck the left concrete median, spun out and came to rest in the second lane of the expressway before catching fire.

When Newcomb got out of his truck, he saw two women moving in the burning car, one of whom he says was screaming for help.

In response, the 22-year IDOT veteran successfully pulled both women from the wreckage and carried them to safety. WGN photographer Tremaine Williams captured the daring rescue on video.

“I don’t know what would have happened with a couple more minutes in that smoke,” Newcomb told WGN News in the aftermath.

An 18 and 19-year-old woman was transported to Illinois Masonic Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Screengrab from video that shows IDOT minuteman Stephen Newcomb helping two women to safety after a fiery crash on the Kennedy Expressway on March 1. (Photo: WGN News)

“I just feel like I was doing my job,” Newcomb said. “There’s years of people saving people. I’m just the latest one. That’s all.”

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