ROCK HILL, SC (FOX 46 WJZY) - It looked like a ball of fire on the side of Interstate 77 southbound in Rock Hill Thursday evening. It’s hard to believe that it was somebody's car. The woman barely made it out alive.
"The car was completely burned out. There was nothing flammable left," said Irvin Plowden Sr.
His wife, Jean, was in the car. It was their 59th wedding anniversary.
"We've lived together as husband and wife for 59 years and I wish it could be another 59."
Thanks to a handful of strangers who stopped to help, Irvin and his wife Jean can celebrate the New Year together.
"We're so grateful for the people who did stop."
Among the four who pulled over, a doctor at Providence Hospital in Columbia and a college student from the University of South Carolina. The student, Christopher Boatwright, said "the reason I stopped was if it was my parents, I’d want somebody to stop for me."
Boatwright said he and the doctor helped get the 84-year-old woman out of the car.
"I found in her door what looked like an envelope cutter, so I cut the seatbelt off of her."
Doctor Val Smetka said Jean was slumped over the steering wheel.
"I leaned over and said I’m here to help you. Your car is on fire so I need to get you out of the fire.
She woke up and looked at me and said yes please. I wrapped my arms around her and literally dragged her out of the car."
Once Jean Plowden was safe and sound, everyone went on their way. It was her daughter's Facebook post - searching for the people she called heroes - that put them back in touch.
Boatwright said he was afraid he would "never probably see this woman again. I'd like to know how she's doing. I'm thankful Facebook allowed us to reconnect," said Boatwright.
The family hopes to get everyone together once Jean gets out of rehabilitation so they can thank them for saving her life.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you. You can't say enough. Not only the right place at the right time, but the right people," said Plowden Sr.