What began as a heroic rescue of an Ohio woman from her burning vehicle has turned into a nightmare for the two Good Samaritans who sustained life-altering physical and emotional damage while saving her life—leading them to sue her, the Columbus Dispatchreports. David Kelley and Mark Kinkaid spotted the bumper of Theresa Tanner’s Hummer lying in the middle of the road on a March day in 2009, and heard her screams for help. They pulled a severely injured Tanner from her flaming SUV—even reaching into the fire again and again after spotting a child’s toy, to make sure no one else was trapped inside.
“The flames were so hot when we got to her that her hair was melting to her head—melting,” Kelley, 39, says. “There isn’t hardly a night that goes by that I don’t wake up in a sweat, that image in my mind.” The extreme heat also burned his body hair, melted the cell phone in his pocket, and left his lungs so damaged that he now struggles even to carry a laundry basket up a flight of stairs. With no health insurance, Kelley decided to file the lawsuit (which asks for a minimum of $25,000 for each man) after discovering Tanner crashed her Hummer in a suicide attempt. Even so, “if it happened all over again today, I would still stop and get the person out of the vehicle. A life’s a life, you know,” he says.