Sport Former Navy football player turned NASCAR driver pulls family from burning vehicle

00:40  03 july  2018
00:40  03 july  2018 Source:   nbcsports.com

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Family safe with help of NASCAR regional series driver Jesse Iwuji. A former Navy football player who began his racing career after completing his full-time academy duties, Iwuji knew he had to get the family away from the vehicle .

Family safe with help of NASCAR regional series driver Jesse Iwuji. A former Navy football player who began his racing career after completing his full-time academy duties, Iwuji knew he had to get the family away from the vehicle .

a man holding a gun© Getty Images

Jesse Iwuji was already a hero before he drove onto California’s Interstate 5 last Sunday. The former Navy football player and track and field athlete now races in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series West, sort of the Triple-A of America’s highest stock car racing circuit.

After a 15th place finish in the Carneros 200 at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on Saturday, June 23, then stuck around to watch the Toyota/Save Mart 300 the following day. While nearing the finish line of his 6-hour drive home, Iwuji noticed a family of four standing near a stranded minivan on the shoulder of Interstate 5. Leaning on his Naval training, Iwuji first tried to move the vehicle out of harm’s way and then, when the car could not be moved, pulled the family to safety.

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As NASCAR driver Jesse Iwuji was driving down a California highway Sunday on his way home from the Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway, he pulled over to help a family on Iwuji — who drives the No. 36 Chevrolet for former NFL star Shawne Merriman — described what happened to NASCAR

“They were kind of going in and out of the van and underneath I saw a lot of fluid leaking from the motor and there was a small little fire that began to light,” he told the Associated Press. “Me, just from my background, military and also racing, we all know that flammable fluids can ignite pretty quick and start a huge fire pretty quick, so just instinctively I just stopped on the side of the road and I ran over to them.”

After helping the stranded family, Iwuji then posted a video to Twitter of the wreckage.

A native of Carrollton, Texas, Iwuji played defensive back for the Midshipmen, appearing in 24 career games from 2006-09.

“All I was doing was just being a decent person,” Iwuji said. “For me, it just comes from my background. Just being in the military, I’ve seen a lot of things happen, seen a lot of bad situations happen. Being in racing, I’ve seen a lot of bad situations happen. I just didn’t want that to happen to these folks.”

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