State troopers say Hana Timbs, 22, of Palmyra, crashed into the back of a propane truck, causing an explosion and extensive fire.
MANCHESTER — What caused a woman to drive into the back of a propane fuel truck remains under investigation.
But the operator of the truck — identified Friday as Patrick Rutherford, 47, of Farmington— who pulled the woman from the fiery wreckage in front of a home on Armington Road is being hailed for giving emergency responders and hospital staff the opportunity to save the life of Hana Timbs, 22, of Palmyra.
Timbs was listed in guarded condition Friday at Strong Memorial Hospital.
“He did a heckuva job getting the operator out of that car,” said State Trooper Mark O’Donnell, public information officer for Troop E.
“That car was totally engulfed in flames,” O’Donnell said. “I gotta give him a lot of credit for doing that very heroic act in very trying circumstances.”
After pulling Timbs from the wreckage and dragging her across the road to safety, the truck operator called 911, O'Donnell said.
Finger Lakes Ambulance and the Citizens Hose Co. in Shortsville provided care until Mercy Flight helicopter arrived. She was flown to Strong Memorial Hospital with “major” burns over most of her body, O’Donnell said.
Troopers were called to the scene at approximately 2:15 p.m. The truck was parked on the right shoulder and partially in the driving lane, troopers said.
Rutherford was behind the home at 4194 Armington Road, where he was filling either his second or third propane tank, O’Donnell said.
That’s when the woman’s vehicle struck the truck, causing an explosion and extensive fire, O’Donnell said.
There were no witnesses to the crash, O’Donnell said. The roads were clear.
“I don’t think it was sun glare or sun-related,” O’Donnell said. “For whatever reason, the vehicle drove into the back of the propane truck. We’re not exactly sure why it happened.”
Rutherford was not seriously injured, O’Donnell said.
First responders from Manchester, Macedon, Shortsville and state troopers and Ontario County sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene.
Armington Road for a time to allow time for cleanup of the scene.