Akron OH December 5 2018 A security guard working at the Hilton Garden Inn tried to free four people trapped in a burning car early Monday, but couldn’t touch the handle because the car was too hot.
“They’re stuck inside, burning!” Jacoby Butler, the guard, said in a frantic 911 call. “I can’t get them out!”
Firefighters also weren’t able to help those inside the vehicle. All four were pronounced dead at the scene of the one-vehicle crash at Goodyear Boulevard and Kelly Avenue in Akron’s Goodyear Heights neighborhood.
Police say the 2006 Ford Taurus was westbound on Goodyear approaching Kelly Avenue about 3:30 a.m. when the driver failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway. The driver drove over the south side of the curb edge of the roadway and struck a retaining wall in front of the Goodyear Research Building, located at 142 Goodyear Blvd.
The vehicle continued west on the sidewalk, crossed Kelly Avenue, struck a traffic signal pole on the southwest corner and caught fire, police say.
The victims’ names are being withheld pending positive identification and family notifications.
Police say speed appears to have been a factor in the crash. The posted speed limit is 25 mph.
“The driver had to be doing excessive speed,” said Lt. Rick Edwards, a police spokesman.
The crash caused damage to the retaining wall but not the pole, Edwards said.
The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office had the car towed and extracted the remains and will do autopsies.
Butler, who works for OSS Inc., a security company the Hilton contracts with, told police he was doing his rounds at the East Market Street hotel when he heard a loud explosion and ran outside. He said he saw a car that had crashed into a pole and was on fire.
“I ran up to the window,” he said. “The car was too hot. I couldn’t even get the door open.”
The dispatcher told Butler to stay away from the car for his own safety.
“You’ve done everything you can,” she reassured him.
“Oh my God,” Butler said in the 911 call. “This is crazy!”
Butler could not be reached Monday afternoon for comment.