Impaired driver leaves passengers inside flaming car, police say

A Hamilton man has been charged with impaired driving after ramming his vehicle into a bunch of parked cars and running away after it caught fire — leaving his two passengers still inside.
Police hold the scene of a car crash on Sunday morning that resulted in a vehicle catching fire and sent two to hospital. (Cory Ruf/CBC)

A Hamilton man has been charged with impaired driving after ramming his vehicle into a bunch of parked cars and running away after it caught fire — leaving his two passengers still inside, police say.

Around 6 a.m. on Sunday, a car was travelling northbound on Ferguson Avenue by Wood Street in the north end when it slammed into a trailer and two other parked cars before coming to a stop.

The driver jumped out of the car and ran off — but when he realized it was on fire, he came back to help the other people in the car, police say.

The collision woke area resident Simon Kiela.

"I heard a big crash, basically, and then I woke up," he told CBC Hamilton. "There was a guy screaming something about wanting a fire extinguisher. It looked like he was trying to get somebody out of the car."

"I went inside because I thought the thing was going to blow up because the fire was huge."

Once everyone was out of the burning car, the driver once again took off. Police were called and spoke to both of the passengers and a number of witnesses.

The driver was found a short distance away and was taken to the police station for a breathalyzer where he blew more than two times the legal limit.

The two passengers in the car — a 25-year-old man and a 17-year-old woman — were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

A 20-year-old Hamilton man was arrested and charged with impaired driving, over 80, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, failing to remain at a collision, and possession of a scheduled drug (cannabis resin).

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