Driver of burning car credits 'guardian angel' for being alive

WItness prays over man in burning car

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A man was pulled from a burning car just minutes before it exploded.

Memphians risked their lives to save the man while others stood nearby and prayed the injured driver would be rescued in time.

The car was destroyed in the explosion, leaving just a Bible behind unscathed. One woman praying on the side of the highway said it was nothing short of a miracle.

The video of the rescue has been seen over a million times on Facebook. Anita Irby can be heard praying in the video.

"Yesterday was beautiful to me," Irby said. "I saw a lot of people put their life in jeopardy to save this one man."

Witnesses said the vehicle was sideswiped on 385, pushing it down a hill and into a pole. As the fire started, many good Samaritans and a K9 officer worked to get the man out. They broke windows, cut his seat belt and carried him to safety, all seconds before the vehicle was engulfed in flames.

"For moments, this fire held on that dashboard until this man was free and once he was free, the fire broke through the car," Irby said. "That was God."

The victim was taken to the hospital with pain in his leg and his vehicle completely burned. In the front seat, they found an untouched Bible.

"It was like seeing a miracle happen," Irby said. "I really believe this was God's way of extending himself and letting people know 'I'm still here.'"

Lunsford Johnson Jr, the man inside the car, is now at Regional Medical Center awaiting surgery. He is a man who says he knows how blessed he is to be alive.

"The Lord spared me. He spared me," Johnson said. "Someone hit me coming off of the 240 ramp on the 385. The jolt was so tremendous it caused my airbag to deploy and that's all I remember."

That may be all he remembers, but Johnson said he knows why he was saved.

"The Lord wasn't ready for me yet. He still has a mission for me to do," Johnson said.

In addition to all the Good Samaritans, including the K9 officer who stopped to help pull him from the burning car, as well as the others who prayed for his safety on the side of the road, Johnson said he knows there was one other person who had a plan for him. It was his wife who died three months ago.

"She wants me to be here for my children, for my grandchildren," Johnson said. "She's there. She wants me to stay here."

He has two daughters and nine grandchildren.

Lunsford also credits a guardian angel for his rescue: the Bible his pastor gave him that he had in his car when he crashed. It survived the fire and water from firefighters.

"He told me to take it with me wherever I go. I been doing it. It serves as a guardian angel. I've been keeping that Bible with me praising the Lord and that's the only way I made it out of it, of that tremendous fire," Johnson said.

He has several bones broken in his leg, several broken ribs and a broken wrist. He said surgeons will have to put him back together with pins and screws.

Police do not have any information on the driver who hit Johnson.

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