This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," January 30, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HEATHER NAUERT, CO-HOST: This is just unbelievable. It's the "big rescue" and we have the amazing video to prove it. What you are about to see happened to a drunk driver whose car got stuck on the train tracks while two locomotives were closing in.
JOHN GIBSON, CO-HOST: "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy has the story behind this incredible video. Douglas.
DOUGLAS KENNEDY, THE BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. What would you guys do?
GIBSON: Get out.
KENNEDY: You see this freight train coming and there is a man stuck on the tracks. Well, one man near Chicago decided to put his own life at risk and it's all caught on tape.
KENNEDY (voice over): The video is dramatic. A minivan hit once. Then twice by a speeding train. Its aftermath is disturbing but the story of the Samaritan who risked his life to save the car's driver is tonight warming hearts in Chicago. Dan Nugent says he was just returning a lifetime of favors.
DAN NUGENT, SAVED A LIFE OF A DRIVER WHOSE CAR GOT STUCK ON THE TRAIN TRACKS: So, it's payback time.
KENNEDY: Payback time came for Nugent when he stopped to get a cup of coffee in downtown Hinsdale, a Chicago suburb. He says he looked out the window and saw a man take a wrong turn on the train tracks.
NUGENT: When I was sitting in Starbucks, it occurred to me that maybe, you know, he had been drinking.
KENNEDY: Then he said he saw the crossing lights start blinking and the crossing gate coming down.
NUGENT: My gut was that he was confused. And you know, I didn't have a lot of time to assess anything, so I just grabbed him and let's go.
KENNEDY: In fact, he was able to lift 72-year-old Franciszek Chudzik to safety. Seconds later, the train came rushing through at over 70 miles an hour. Chudzik is seen here narrowly escaping. Hinsdale officer Steve Ruben had just pulled up and caught part of the dramatic rescue on his dash cam, though at the time, he did not know if there were other passengers.
STEVE RUBEN, POLICE OFFICER: It goes through your mind, you know, how many people were in that car. You have no idea.
KENNEDY: And if there had been anyone else in the car, Hinsdale police say they could not have survived as both ends of the minivan became a mangled mess.
MARK WODKA, DEPUTY CHIEF, HINSDALE POLICE DEPARTMENT: The driver was very thankful because if it wasn't for the actions of this Good Samaritan he would have been dead.
KENNEDY: And Chudzik may have escaped death but he has not escaped the law. He has now been charged with drunk driving and trespassing on railroad property. As for Nugent, he says he stands by a policy of pay-it-forward.
NUGENT: I got to try to do something because so many people have tried to help me.
KENNEDY: Now I spoke with Nugent's mom earlier today. She said Dan has always been thoughtful and she said she is very proud of him. She says, John and Heather, he is a god man.
NAUERT: Wow, I'll say.
GIBSON: Did the drunk driver learn his lesson?
KENNEDY: Did the drunk learn his lesson? I talked to the police officer who spent the entire night with this guy. He says he had no idea a train was coming. And by the next morning he was very grateful that he was alive.
GIBSON: Douglas Kennedy - thank you, Douglas.
NAUERT: Thanks a lot, Douglas.
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