Driver burns alive after crashing into apartment - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Driver burns alive after crashing into apartment

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A bizarre and deadly crash overnight in South Albany.  An SUV ran off the road and crashed into an apartment, bursting into the flames.

The driver of the Dodge Durango was burned alive. His passenger escaped.

All this happened while desperate resident of the apartment complex off Newton Road looked on.

"Every time I close my eyes it is like I can see him all over again, looking in my face asking me to help him," says Catherine Covin, Neighbor.

Catherine Covin still cannot sleep because images of the tragedy keep flashing in her mind.

"Like he was just begging for life," says Covin.

Around 2:00 AM Sunday, 55 year old Oree Bowen Jr. and 53 year old Rebee Lassiter were inside a Dodge Durango heading west on Lippitt Drive. Bowen was behind the wheel when something went wrong.

"Here at the light off of Lippitt, like he was fixing to turn and I guess he lost control of the car and ended up, up here," says Covin.

The SUV crossed over Newton Road and continued across the yard, crashing into the brick wall of the apartment building.

Catherine Covin and her daughter Saquanya Covin, ran out of their house to see what had happened next door.

"His hands were up and he was just rocking back and forth like this and begging for me to come over there, like 'please help me, help me, get me out, get me out, get me out'," says Covin.

The vehicle had struck a gas main, and immediately caught fire.

Bowen was trapped inside the burning car, but Lassiter was able to escape.

"She got out and told somebody to call for help and she passed out," says Saquanya Covin, Neighbor.

Catherine Covin ran up to the burning car to try to save Bowen from the flames.

"When I looked inside the car I was like oh my god, so I am trying to pull the door open and he was trying to help but the seat belt had jammed on him and he couldn't move," says Covin.

They realized there was nothing they could do.

"After the fire got up to him, he stopped rocking and just laid back and you could see his flesh just burning," says Saquanya Covin, Neighbor.

"That was another life, that has been taken, and there was nothing nobody could have done about it," says Covin.

Luckily, no one was in the house at the time of the crash but Nathaniel Roberts was just 2 days shy of moving in.

"I could have been in there, I could have been in there, there ain't no way around it," says Nathaniel Roberts, Future resident.

He says it was the grace of god that he is alive.

"I thank the lord I was not in there because if I was in there I would not be here today," says Roberts.

And he says even after everything is cleaned up, there is no way he is living in this house.

Albany Police say the wreck is still under investigation.

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