by: Mark Becker Updated:
FORT MILL, S.C. - Police have a murder warrant waiting for Jimmy Estes when he gets out of the hospital.
He might not even be alive if it weren't for a father and son from Troutman who happened to pull up to an accident Estes was injured in in Fort Mill seconds after it happened.
“When you're at a red light and you see a car engulfed, you're not thinking about 'is there somebody inside and what do we need to do to help him?'” said witness Ted Delisi.
It's an image Ted and Zach Delisi may never forget and it was captured in six seconds of video Zach Delisi shot on his cellphone.
Thick, black smoke was out of a mangled car on Highway 21 with the driver still trapped inside.
“Somebody was standing there with a fire extinguisher so I grabbed and ran over and tried to proceed to extinguish the fire as best I can,” said Ted Delisi.
“You hear about it all the time on TV. Oh an accident, but to be in the middle of it, it's so surreal,” Zach Delisi said.
Once the fire was out, the Delisis saw the driver was still alive.
They didn't know until Tuesday that he was Estes, the prime suspect in the death of his girlfriend, Frances Gutnick, at her home in southwest Charlotte late Sunday night.
The accident report, released Wednesday by the York County Sheriff's Office, stated Estes had texted a family member and said he was going to commit suicide and he'd intentionally drove into the opposing lane of traffic. Estes hit a dump truck head on.
The company that owns that truck didn't want to talk with Channel 9, but they said the driver is OK and back at work.
Ted Delisi is just now recognizing the risk he took.
“When you step back and you realize, 'I might not have been home last night if that car had exploded.' But you don't think about that at the time that somebody's in need,” he said.
Read our past coverage:
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Rescue effort underway after tractor-trailer crashes down embankment on I-85
Shots fired after police chase ends at busy Cabarrus Co. intersection
Man taken into custody following SWAT standoff in west Charlotte
Propane torch ignited fire that destroyed Mount Holly church, investigators say