- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
- 0 Shares
When Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon stopped to help the victims of a car crash that unfolded before his eyes on Saturday night, he wasn't responding as much as he was reacting, he said Monday.
"It was one of those things where you just react. I think a lot of people would have done the same thing," Dixon said Monday, speaking about the crash for the first time. "When I saw the car flip I didn't think anyone would survive."
Dixon said he was driving home from a practice and film session when he saw the car strike a wall and roll over on Interstate 279 in Pittsburgh. He described the incident on Monday after speaking with police investigating the crash.
"I was driving home around 9:30 or 10 p.m. from the office after we practiced and watched film when I saw a car in front of me going in the fast lane and then veer to the right and hit the wall," Dixon said of the crash. "It flipped a few times. There weren't a lot of people on the road.
"I pulled over and ran to the car. There was smoke coming out, which I was later told by the firemen ... was from the air bags being deployed," Dixon said.
Officials said Dixon injured his hands while assisting the occupants, and in video footage seen on WPXI.com, he is seen being treated in an ambulance. He explained Monday that he cut his hands on the shattered windshield glass while trying to help the occupants out of the wreckage.
"A woman was trying to get out and was kicking at the windshield. I grabbed her by the feet and pulled her out. That's when I cut my hands since the windshield was already broken," Dixon said. "At that moment I didn't know if it was a man or a woman. And then when she got out, she ran.
"There was another woman in the car who was unconscious. She wasn't responding," Dixon said, adding that by that point, a corrections officer and a woman had also stopped to help. "She eventually responded when the firemen got there and they had to get her out."
Dixon said when he got home with his hands bandaged, his wife, Jackie, asked what happened, removed the bandages to see the myriad of scratches and cuts and jokingly said he was soft.
"The cuts weren't that bad ... There was a lot of blood but it looked worse than what it was," he said of the injuries on ESPN2's "First Take" on Monday morning.
Pennsylvania state trooper Erik Fisher told ESPN.com on Sunday that Dixon had done the right thing.
"He was a Good Samaritan," Fisher said. "That's the way people are supposed to be. By all accounts he did exactly what a decent person should do. It's an interstate freeway and I'm sure countless other cars drove right past. He was one of the very few who pulled over."
But on "First Take," Dixon said although he was the first person to pull over and help, he was hardly alone.
"There were a number of people who helped out," he said. "We had a number of people who stepped up.
"A lot of Pittsburgh people would do the same thing," he added.
Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com.