Former Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez was known as a World Series hero. Now, he is simply a hero.
Responding to a head-on auto accident he witnessed Friday in Paradise Valley, Arizona, Gonzalez and his two friends rescued a woman pulling her out of her smashed vehicle.
“I just reacted,” Gonzalez told www.azcentral.com the next day. “I didn’t think about it, to be honest with you.”
After getting the woman to safety, Gonzalez was seen attempting to comfort her as they spoke to a Paradise Valley police officer. Nearby, an area firefighter worked to extinguish the vehicle fire.
Artie Cuffari said he was riding in a car with Gonzalez and another friend, Mike Mehan, when they saw a vehicle jump the median and crash into the women’s vehicle. The car that hopped the median burst into flames, Cuffari added.
Immediately, Gonzalez and Mehan jumped out of their car and ran over to give assistance, said Cuffari, who called 911.
“I was just trying to get the lady out of the car,” Gonzalez said. “She was a little dazed and groggy. I was like, ‘Open the door, open the door, the other car is on fire.’ I didn’t know if the car was going to blow up or something because I was seeing flames coming out of it.”
Mehan was able to pry the women’s door open and Gonzalez removed her from danger.
Before Friday’s heroics, Gonzalez was best recongnized for his game-winning bloop single in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, leading the D’backs over the New York Yankees. Gonzalez played 19 years in the majors, collecting 2,591 hits and 354 home runs.
Currently a senior advisor for the D’backs, Gonzalez said he called a police station Friday night and was informed the two drivers were all right.
“I was just glad that I was there and able to help her out, and my friends were there to help defuse the situation quick, and that the fire department and police department were outstanding,” Gonzalez said. “I can’t say enough about those guys. It makes you appreciate what they do for a living more and more every day.”