HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – A Hollywood man is being hailed a hero after pulling a driver from a burning truck after the driver ran off the Florida Turnpike near Hollywood Boulevard, slammed into two homes and crashed into a house.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and tells CBS 4 News that at this point they do not know why the driver, Tad Thomas, 41, ran off the road and was unable to stop his truck.

An FHP spokesperson says the Thomas was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital and is in surgery. His injuries are not expected to be life-threatening.

Home video taken by a neighbor captured the aftermath — the truck caught fire after the crash. Neighbor Evan Hanna says he heard a boom and ran to help.

“I stepped back for a minute (and) when I stepped up, the front of the truck caught on fire,” Hanna said. “That’s when I realized I really had to get him out quick.”

The truck burned up but not before Hanna pulled the driver out. Hanna said the driver had a gash on his head and was out of it.

When asked by a reporter if he was concerned for his safety Hanna said, “I wasn’t really thinking. I just wanted to get him out of the truck.”

Raymonde Nelson lives in the house the truck hit. She says she was inside sleeping and felt the house shake.

“I thought it was an earthquake,” she told CBS 4’s Carey Codd.

She says her kids use this parking lot as a playground.

“I thank God my kids wasn’t here because they always play in here,” Nelson said.

Nelson said the home still does not have power and while there appears to be no structural damage from the impact, there is a lot of water damage from the efforts by firefighter’s to extinguish the car and the house.

Neighbors say it’s fortunate the driver survived and there was someone willing to help pull him from the burning car.

“I declare him a hero because he actually saved his life,” said neighbor Dalia Vitia.


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