Troopers: Four rescued from burning truck after two alcohol-rela - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Troopers: Four rescued from burning truck after two alcohol-related crashes

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UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

Troopers in Union County say two alcohol-related accidents within three hours ended with a fiery crash on Sunday night.

According to the Highway Patrol, the first happened at 6:15 p.m. Sunday evening on Wesley Woods Road.

That's where troopers say 33-year-old Josh Thomas hit a bridge and a mailbox. A neighbor confronted Thomas and a group of three other men and the group took off.

As troopers were wrapping up the report on the accident, a second call came out about another accident. Troopers say the same group crashed, again, around 8:59 p.m. Sunday along Griffith Road.

This time, troopers say, 36-year-old Phillip Ray Helms was driving.

Helms reportedly crossed the center line, crashed into an embankment, overturned his truck - which then caught fire.

Helms, Thomas, 39-year-old Kenneth Scott Dixon and 36-year-old Aaron Simpson were trapped in the vehicle until a neighbor, who heard the crash, came and helped.

The neighbor was able to pull three of the men out of the vehicle, but was not initially able to get Helms out of the truck.  He was later rescued, but has severe burns.

Helms was taken to the burn center in Chapel Hill for treatment.

Helms has been charged with DWI, along with careless and reckless driving. Troopers say alcohol and speed were factors in the accident.

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