HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- An autistic teen is being hailed a hero after he pulled his unresponsive mother from a burning car on Long Island.
As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, Tyler Gianchetta knew something was wrong when his 50-year-old mother stopped responding to him while driving in West Hills.
"She didn't answer me, and then I asked her if she's ignoring me and no answer," he said.
Susan Gianchetta then started shaking and crashed into a tree. Next, their car began to fill with smoke.
Tyler said he didn't think, he just acted.
"It was just instinct, just get her out. Don't let my mom die," he said.
At the crash scene, passersby found Tyler had pulled his unconscious mother out of the car, breaking his hand in the process. Seconds later, the car erupted in a fireball.
"He's a hero and he is a special kid," said Tyler's dad Michael Gianchetta.
Tyler's mom was taken to Huntington Hospital with multiple broken bones and a long recover ahead, Gusoff reported.
Tyler's dad said he has little doubt she is alive thanks to their quick-thinking son.
"He's had his own challenges through his life and we've always instilled responsibility," said Michael.
Michael said his son has beaten the odds as an 18-year-old college honor student with autism, and always amazes him with instincts to do the right thing.
"And if I broke my hand saving her life, I'd break the other one saving it again," Tyler said.
Mom Susan has no memory of the crash and what her son did to save her. Why she blacked out behind the wheel is a mystery, Gusoff reported.
Tyler chalks it up to doing what any good son would have.
"I say don't call me a hero, I'm not a hero yet until I know she's OK," he said.
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