DAVIE, Fla. – A 29-year-old man was arrested Thursday, months after a fiery crash in Davie that seriously injured both him and his passenger, authorities said.
Derek Michael Salisbury faces charges of DUI causing serious bodily injury and reckless driving causing seriously bodily injury.
Police said a group of friends were driving home together about 1:30 a.m. Jan. 7 when they spotted the crash in the 3600 block of Southwest 136th Avenue.
"We saw a car that was wrapped around this tree," Casey Jacks, 23, said.
"The fire is underneath the hood and there's smoke coming out already," Fernando Mensa, 23, said.
Daniel Bermudez said the group ran toward the crash site to try to rescue the victims.
"First thing I did was I tried the passenger door," Hunter Marquardt, 18, added. "My adrenaline was going, and I pulled on it and couldn't get it to budge."
The friends said the driver and his passenger were both trapped inside the car.
"They were in and out of consciousness," Mensa said.
As the fire intensified, the good Samaritans maintained their focus.
Jacks, who was nursing a broken foot, called 911 as Bermudez, Marquardt and Mensa frantically worked to free the critically injured victims.
"I removed the seat belt off the driver and, with the help of Hunter, we managed to remove the driver out of the car," Bermudez said.
"I jumped in the car, trying to get the seat belt off the passenger, and the flame where the seat belt latch was a piece of metal sticking out of a dash and I was able to cut it," Marquardt said.
Mensa said he felt around the back seat to make sure there were no other passengers.
"I felt the back seats, closed my eyes and didn't feel anybody, and I ran out and counted 15 and 20 seconds and the car literally went up in flames," he said.
Davie police said both men who were in the car were taken to a Broward Health Medical Center in critical condition.
According to an arrest report, Salisbury could not tell an officer who was driving the vehicle or where he was.
Police said the officers at the scene could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Salisbury's mouth as he spoke.
Authorities said Salisbury's passenger, Eli Bragi, also could not remember his last name, where he was coming from or whether anyone else was in the car.
Salisbury refused to provide a blood sample, but one was taken after authorities obtained a warrant, the arrest report stated.
Police said it was later determined that Salisbury had an .22 percent blood-alcohol level one hour after the crash with an unconfirmed positive test for cannabinoids. It was also determined that Salisbury's Scion was going a minimum speed of 70.73 mph when it crashed into a tree, authorities said.
Salisbury suffered a right arm fracture, right femur fracture, right ankle fracture and fractures to his right hip, authorities said.
Police said Bragi suffered a partially amputated right arm, a broken left femur and a broken left ankle.
Sgt. Mark Leone said Bragi remains in a coma.
Salisbury is being held in lieu of a $45,000 bond.