2 dead, 2 critical after crash on highway west of Saguaro Lake

He used a towel to try to put out flames to save lives, and the two passengers survived.
Published: Sep. 2, 2023 at 12:05 PM MST
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SAGUARO LAKE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Two people are dead after a head-on crash Friday night on Bush Highway, west of Saguaro Lake.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies responded around 11:30 p.m. to an area close to Sheep’s Crossing Recreation Site, about 8 miles southeast of Fort McDowell. There, they found two vehicles, with one of them on fire. The drivers of each vehicle died at the scene. Each vehicle had one passenger, and they were both taken to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries.

A humble hero came to the rescue after avoiding the fiery crash. A retired firefighter used a hammer to bust open windows to save the people trapped inside the cars after a head-on collision turned explosion and fire happened right next to him and his girlfriend. Samantha Trenou was driving on Bush Highway with her boyfriend, Chris Bebout when a head-on crash happened right in front of their eyes. Trenou says a car went to pass them at the same time another car was coming around the bend. Bebout jumped into action right away.

He’s a retired firefighter and rushed to rescue the people trapped inside the cars. He used a towel to try to put out flames to save lives, and the two passengers survived. The former first responder is used to helping in the aftermath of tragedy, but he says it felt different to be first on the scene this time. The couple is rattled.

“As soon as he pulled that first guy out of the fire car, it just woosh went up in flames,” said Trenou. “He’s trying to calm me down, while he’s trying to put out this fire, while he’s trying to help these people. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it. I hope I never see anything like it again.”

“Within 30 seconds, there was an explosion, and you look back, and it was just sparks everywhere. Complete darkness, and then we turned around, and the one vehicle was starting to catch fire,” said Bebout. “I wish I could have got everyone out.”

They spent their evening yesterday kayaking on Salt River with Samantha’s dad before all of this, never imagining they’d soon spend hours at such a traumatic scene. The couple say they’re just heartbroken for the families. “It was the wrong place at the wrong time, and being at the right place at the right time for the situation, I feel horrible for the families,” said Bebout.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash. So far, the names of the victims have not been released, but we’re told all involved were adults.

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