Student saves woman from a burning car

Junior Ryan Glassey rescues a woman unexpectedly on his commute to work.


| Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

Anne Marie Larson, Writer

| Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

It was just another commute to his job as a Campus Safety cadet from his home in Buena Park. However, it became what junior Ryan Glassey described as the most interesting commute he has ever experienced. After seeing smoke billowing out of a burning car, Glassey lept into action and rescued a woman out of her car on Sept. 12.


Driving through the intersection of Stage and Alondra, Glassey noticed a car to his left whose front was crushed in. He immediately pulled over and ran out of his car. He did not witness the accident — which happened shortly before his arrival — but he was the first person to arrive on the scene.

As Glassey approached the car, he noticed a woman inside, hysterical and in shock. He yanked on the door handle but it didn’t budge. Glassey raced to the other side of the car and noticed the car rapidly filling with wispy smoke. The adrenaline rush took over as Glassey’s fight-or-flight reflex overtook him.

“In that moment I had no idea in what way I could possibly help her. It was just kind of, ‘I’m going to go over and make sure she’s ok,’” Glassey said.

Shortly after his arrival, a small group of three converged at the scene. The other person involved in the accident, a doctor, attempted to help coax the woman out of the car. As the pair stood on opposite sides of the car, Glassey knew they had to get her out soon.

“We’ve all seen movies where there’s been a lot of smoke or flames, and all of a sudden things blow up. That’s just theatrics. But anyway, I figured smoke is bad,” Glassey said.

He successfully opened the driver’s side door, helped the woman out and took her to the curb. She was scared, in shock, bruised and a little cut up from the accident, but to Glassey’s relief, the woman sustained no life-threatening injuries.

Moments after Glassey lifted her to safety, sheriff’s deputies arrived to assess the situation, Glassey said. The presence of the police and doctor assured Glassey that the situation was under control and he could leave.

“I took it as my clue that I could probably head out. There’s not really much more I could do. I mean, she was fine. Nothing blew up and there wasn’t that much blood,” Glassey said.


Glassey was at the scene for about 10 minutes. He had left early that day and managed to get to work on time, his Campus Safety uniform unsullied.
“I wasn’t even thinking about it …Thank the Lord she didn’t sustain any serious injuries. From what I saw, she was conscious and awake and she talked to us. The other people in the area were great and worked as a team to get her out,” Glassey said.

Gerry Rojas, a sophomore anthropology major and Glassey’s co-worker, heard about his adventure afterward and affirmed that Glassey’s rescue coincides with his work ethic.

“It is in his character. The fact that he stopped and did that is no surprise whatsoever,” Rojas said.

Throughout his two year Campus Safety career, Glassey said he has only encountered minor things. Rescuing the woman gave Glassey valuable experience in how to appropriately respond to a given environment and victim condition, said Glassey. Campus Safety teaches each cadet how to respond to situations such as this through books and training clips. Being put in a real life situation gave Glassey the opportunity to practice these skills in the field.

Although thankful that he could help, Glassey said that he did not see his deed as praiseworthy.

“There weren’t mass explosions. It wasn’t this like this big epic rescue where if I wasn’t there, this woman would have died. Other people reacted. It was cool getting to play a part in helping her and getting her out, doing that kind of stuff,” Glassey said.

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