Man honored for saving driver from burning car who is now charged with crime

EL CAMPO, Texas – A Fort Bend County man is being honored as a hero for saving a driver from a burning car just before it exploded.

The man who was saved from the burning car is now a suspect in a crash.

Martin Montalvo II said he wasn’t completely comfortable getting an award from the Fort Bend County Precinct 4 Constable. Montalvo said he’s just a regular guy.

“God just said, ‘Go ahead and save him.’ What else you can do,” Montalvo said.

Montalvo said he woke up to a loud noise on Jan. 12 when a car crashed into some trees near his home on Lum Road. When he ran outside, he said he saw a burning car and started to pull the unconscious driver out of the window. Seconds later, the car exploded, he said.

“He could have been dead, could have blew up in the car, too. I could have, too,” he said.

The driver has now been identified as Lee Trevino.

“He regained consciousness, and I asked him (Trevino) was there anyone else in the car,” Montalvo said. “He said, ‘No.’”

Authorities said the driver ran away, leaving passenger, El Campo High School student James Russell O’Canas, in the car. Officials said O’Canas died.

READ: El Campo family mourns teen killed in crash; police arrest driver involved

Even though this story doesn’t have a happy ending, Precinct 4 deputies said it doesn’t change the actions of a citizen who went above and beyond.

“It’s very rare that you have a citizen that will jump in and risk their own life and to me, that’s what a hero is,” Deputy Kenneth Taylor said.

Taylor said Trevino later returned to the crash site and told investigators he was the driver. Trevino is now charged with reckless driving, criminally negligent homicide and failure to stop and render aid causing a death.

Trevino has since bonded out of jail.