sfpd_squad.jpgA man who was saved from a burning vehicle in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood early this morning was found to have allegedly been driving under the influence, a police spokesman said.

At about 1:30 a.m., a vehicle traveling east on Folsom Street near 12th Street went onto the center divide and struck a light pole, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

Upon impact with the pole, the car burst into flames with the man still inside it and unconscious, Esparza said.

Good Samaritans who witnessed the crash tried to get the man out of the car, and an officer arrived soon afterward and used his knife to cut through the seatbelt and rescue the man from the car, according to Esparza.

Firefighters arrived minutes later and extinguished the burning car, fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

The man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and is expected to survive. Once at the hospital, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI and will be booked into county jail when he is medically cleared, Esparza said.

The 36-year-old San Francisco resident’s name was not being released as of this afternoon because he had yet to be booked into jail, Esparza said.

One of the good Samaritans also was injured during the rescue, suffering a minor wound to his hand, according to Esparza, who lauded “the brave witnesses and officer that jeopardized their safety to rescue this person.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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