Good Samaritan Santa pulls man from burning truck

Posted: Updated:

COPPELL - You'd think this late in the game, Santa Claus would be way too busy to just show up at the corner of Interstate 635 and Belt Line Road in Coppell, Texas.

But, then again, he tends to be there when you need him. And so, there he was, right after a two-car collision, directing traffic around the burning wreckage.

"It must have just happened," said an incredulous Margie Culberson, who grabbed her iPhone and started taking pictures of the Good Samaritan Santa. "It was a fireball and a lot of black smoke."

And while Coppell police have a record of the crash, they have no record of Santa being there.

News 8 found him.

Turns out, he came from Arlington. And his name is Brad Luddeke.

He was in costume, delivering toys to families in need, as he does every year. And the former volunteer firefighter was in the right place at the right time.

"As soon as I grabbed his jacket and pulled him away, I said, 'Your car's on fire,'" Luddeke said. "We turned to leave, and I guess the battery exploded. And that's when everything went up."

He won't say so, but Luddeke probably saved someone's life Tuesday.

And he, of all people, knows how much that means.

"Seven years ago, I lost my 17-year-old son in a single-vehicle accident," Luddeke said.

It was a tragedy that altered the course of his life, just as the moment Tuesday gave life to another.

But Luddeke doesn't want your kiddos to worry.

"Santa won't be late this year kids," he said. "Santa was just helping out when needed."

And reminding us what Christmas is about.