MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Several Miami high school students are being hailed as heroes after Miami Fire Rescue said they took valiant steps to help fellow students who were injured in a deadly crash.
"We understand that several students are heroes after they ran up to the vehicle and broke a window using a rock," said Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ignatius Carroll.
Carroll told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "Even though they didn't have to, they jumped in to save lives."
The students from Green Springs High School at 3551 N.W. 7th St. acted quickly after a school van that was headed eastbound on N.W. 7th St. was struck by a black Nissan Sentra that was southbound.
The van was knocked over, trapping eight students and the driver inside. The driver of the Nissan Sentra did not survive. His wife was taken to the hospital.
Police said it happened at 12:20 p.m. The students were on their way to lunch.
The students who responded told D'Oench that they did not think twice about helping.
Michael Loncharal, a 12th grader, said, "All I did was see the accident and I tried to help. I'm not going to see something like that and not help. I had to help. We had to break the windows."
Fellow 12th grader Sinai Rodriguez said, "I just saw the two vehicles crash and I had to help my students and friends. It think we did what we had to do."
That was important because two of the students are in critical condition. Most of the others just had cuts and bruises.
Fellow 12th grader Alex Rodriguez tried to help the driver of the car and his wife.
"I broke the windows," he said. "I broke the car's windows."
His parents said they were proud.
"I am very proud of what he did," said George Rodriguez. "I am proud of what all of them did. They were scared. And they did their best."
Alex Rodriguez's mother Miry said, "I am very proud too. He jumped in and helped when some others were walking away from the car."
Jose Sanchez, a witness who arrived at the scene right after the accident, said, "What I saw was overwhelming. You see an accident with young people and the driver and the man did not live to tell the story. This is breathtaking. This could have been anyone's father or brother."
Miami Police Lt. Freddie Cruz said it was too early to say who caused the accident.
"Our investigators will try to see if there is any surveillance tape available and see if it shows who was at fault and if speed was a factor," said Cruz.
Capt. Carroll said the students range in age from 16 to 19 years old.
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