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Neighbor tries to save man from fiery crash in Bidwell Park

Published On: Jan 01 2014 06:28:15 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 01 2014 06:31:01 PM CST
CHICO, Calif. -

A fiery crash along Chico's Bidwell Park left a Paradise man dead on New Year's Day.  A neighbor who heard the crash did everything he could to save the man's life.

The accident was reported at 3:11 a.m. Wednesday on Vallombrosa Avenue at Lilac Lane.
 
Chico Police said the 27-year-old driver, whose name was not immediately released, was driving his dark green Mini Cooper too fast.  Investigators believe he drove through a stop sign, failed to navigate a turn and struck a tree on the south side of the road in Bidwell Park.  The vehicle burst into flames.
 
Neighbors heard the crash.  Josh Nathan, 28, came running out to try to save the man in the burning car.

"I was just in a mode that I've got to do whatever it takes to get him out," said Nathan.  "I was on the phone with the dispatcher at the time and she told me not to touch him. But I told her the car was getting engulfed in flames very quickly.  He was unconscious for sure.  I tried to check his pulse, but with the chaos of the moment I couldn't really figure out how to even do that."

Nathan, who is a student at Chico State University, said it's not the first time cars have crashed near his home.  He said in two previous incidents, drunk drivers have driving onto his front yard.

Some neighbors say a guard rail needs to be installed in the area.

When firefighters arrived they extinguished the flames but it was too late to save the man's life.