SUNSET HILLS, MO (KTVI) - A frightening crash shut down part of southbound Interstate 270 in Sunset Hills Saturday morning and left a woman trapped unconscious inside her burning car.
Nearby drivers stopped to try save her life.
It happened around 8:30 am. A car went off the road, hit a guardrail, ran into a post holding the overhead Gravois exit sign, and then into the rocky bluff along the side of 270.
"The car that was in the wreck was 2 lanes over from the slow lane and just veered off hard right, right into the guardrail there," said witness Wally King. "It's terrifying when you see something like that … that could have been my daughter out there."
"We were notified of an automobile accident with persons trapped," said Deputy Chief Lou Hecht of the Fenton Fire Protection District.
Rescuers initially thought there could be at least one child in the car along with the 22-year-old woman who was driving.
The car caught fire before firefighters arrived.
King said he and his wife were among close to 20 people who stopped to help.
"We grabbed a fire extinguisher, went over an put the fire out … I was tapping on her arm then another lady came up and got the blood that was in her nose out so she could breathe," King said.
"One of our paramedics climbed inside the car with the patient to begin treatment right away while they were trying to cut the car away," Hecht said.
Rescuers discovered the driver was alone in the car. They cut away the wreckage with hydraulic tools, slid her out on a backboard and got her into an ambulance, Hecht said.
Two lanes of 270 were shutdown for about 2 hours.
Police have identified the driver as Jessica Apenbrinck of High Ridge.
She was hospitalized in serious condition.
There's no word on what caused her to go off the highway.