Shelby man with ALS dies in minivan fire on way to Super Bowl dream

Shelby man with ALS dies in minivan fire on way to Super Bowl dream

ATLANTA — A man with Lou Gehrig's disease who dreamed of going to the Super Bowl secured tickets from a charity, but was killed when the minivan he was traveling in caught fire on the way to Atlanta.

Officials said 39-year-old Ed Cushman of Shelby, North Carolina, got tickets through ALS-dedicated charity Team Gleason in New Orleans.

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His brother was driving him Saturday when the minivan began smoking on Interstate 85. A Georgia State Patrol release says Robert Cushman got out to examine the vehicle, at which point flames erupted. He tried to rescue Ed Cushman, who was in a wheelchair and on a ventilator, but the "flames were too intense."

Several people stopped to help, but Robert Cushman went into the burning van.

"He could tell that I was there with him, and he could tell that I was holding on to him,” Cushman said.

He didn't want his brother to suffer a terrifying death, but he said the flames were too much.

“Eventually, I just knew that this was his time, and I just felt the presence of God saying, 'Get out while you can. Save yourself.' And I knew it was time,” he said.

He said before he left, his brother became unconscious and likely died without suffering.