FALL RIVER (CBS) – The driver of a truck involved in a fiery crash on Route 79 under the Braga Bridge in Fall River told WBZ-TV he was the victim of road rage.
Out of the hospital on Monday, 42-year-old Luis Cotto told WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields that a black sedan cut him off on the road early Sunday morning. Cotto said he flashed his high beams, which he said angered the driver in the car. When both vehicles pulled over, a group men from the car allegedly beat up Cotto.
“I got hit from behind, and fell down,” says Cotto. “Then, they were all kicking me in the head.”
Cotto said he then crawled back to his truck and started to drive away, but said he saw flashes from a gun, heard four or five shots and crashed.
WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports
“I heard three or four shots, and I ducked under the dashboard,” says Cotto. That’s when he struck a guardrail, and his truck burst into flames. “The explosion hit me right in my chest,” he says.
“We are aware that the victim of the crash has made statements…about alleged events that he said occurred prior to the crash. At this time, we are not commenting on those statements,” said State Police spokesperson Dave Procopio, in a statement.
Cotto said he then managed to escape the truck through a window and was later pulled to safety by a state trooper.
“Trooper Allyson Powell’s heroics in pulling an injured driver from a fiery wreck – for the second time in as many years – were truly remarkable, and epitomize the highest ideals of the Massachusetts State Police. The victim might well not be alive today were it not for the trooper’s actions,” Procopio said, in a statement.
“If it wasn’t for that State Police, I want to say thanks to her,” says Cotto. “She saved my life.”
WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields contributed to this report.