Man wouldn't leave burning car after crash, police said

A man who was allegedly high on cocaine had to be dragged out of his burning car by police after he crashed into a tree and refused to get out of the vehicle, New Hampshire officials said.

Authorities were called to the scene by witness Jonathan Caress, who spotted an idling car in Pelham shortly before midnight on Monday.

Caress told Boston 25 that the car was steaming after apparently hitting a tree and, when he approached the driver, the man seemed to be trying to leave the scene without help from police or firefighters.

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“I rolled my window down and I said ‘are you okay?’ He said ‘no, I’m fine.’ I said ‘you sure? Everything good?’ He said ‘no, no, I’m good.' But he looked like he was trying to shift the vehicle and get out of there. Something didn’t seem right,” Caress said.

Caress, who is a lieutenant paramedic in nearby Londonderry, called the police and headed home.

Police said they found 53-year-old Michael Hines, of Derry, who refused to get out of the car. Hines was removed from the vehicle but he tried to get back in as the fire spread and the tires exploded. He told police he was a mechanic.

Dashcam video from the Pelham Police Department showed the officers yanking Hines from the car just moments before it burst into flames. Hines wasn’t hurt.


“They were making sure they were getting him to a safe distance at all cost because that vehicle had the potential to explode,” Pelham Police Capt. Stephen Toom said.

Hine was charged with driving under the influence and possession of cocaine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.