A tragic car crash in Shirley early Sunday morning that left one man dead and another with serious injuries would have been even worse if 22-year-old Jordan Cserenyi and several other Good Samaritans hadn’t stepped in.
Police say a 2004 Jeep was traveling southbound on William Floyd Parkway, near Dawn Drive, when it was struck from behind by a 2010 Toyota sedan driven by James Dontae at about 12:50 a.m. The Jeep caught fire following the crash.
The driver of the Jeep, who has yet to be identified by police, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Dontae, 29, of Shirley, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital with serious injuries.
Cserenyi, who was on his way with his girlfriend to Long Island Community Hospital in East Patchogue at the time of the incident after being attacked in the leg, arm and side by a dog in Mastic Beach, saw several people surrounding the fiery scene and had her pull over.
A team effort
Cserenyi said several people looked like they were trying to get Dontae out of a broken window.
“Then I realized the car door was kind of bent and I grabbed the door and I ripped the door open and we were able to grab the driver out. I had the guys grab his legs from the other side.”
“I grabbed him out, but there was another man who carried him out,” he said. “There was like three people.”
Cserenyi, whose mother was a nurse in the U.S. Army, said he laid Dontae down on his back.
“I heard the guy take a deep breath. I asked him to nod his head slightly if he heard me. After he did that, that’s when I ran to the next car. I tried to get in there, but it was so hot that I couldn’t get in.”
He soon heard the “whistle” of pressure building up. “I’m a mechanic and I told everyone to back up.”
A few moments later, “It blew up right in front of me.”
A police spokesman said there were the reports of people trying to help the crash victims, but no one was there when detectives arrived.
Cserenyi said the wound from the dog bite was opening, so he likely left between the time initial police officers were on the scene — he said he briefly spoke to one — and when detectives got there.
‘He’s a hero’
Cserenyi’s brother, Michael, 28, who was sharing the story with people at Tend Coffee shop Sunday morning based on information relayed by his mother, said he thought his brother’s actions were “amazing.”
“When you’re on your way to the hospital from a pretty serious injury and save a man’s life and then try to save another man’s life … that makes me look at him a little differently,” Michael said. “He’s a hero.”
Jordan posted on Facebook his condolences to the family of the man who died and said he’d like to visit Dontae and wish him “a speedy recovery.”
Cserenyi said by no means did he act alone.
“Everybody had a part and everybody did the right thing.” He added that he was able to help despite his injuries based on pure adrenaline.
“I didn’t even second-guess it. I just acted on instinct.”
Anyone with information on the crash is asked to contact the Seventh Squad at 631-852-8752 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.