Ryan Belcher was leaving work Thursday afternoon in Ypsilanti, Michigan, when the powerlifter heard a loud noise in the distance, he told Detroit’s WXYZ-TV.
“I just hear a big smash and, as I look out, a crowd of people are coming and this vehicle is flipped upside down,” Belcher said, “and my first instinct was to just take off out there.”
A man lay pinned by the overturned Jeep with his body halfway out of the wreckage, MLive.com reported, as four or so people gathered trying to help.
“He was talking about his legs, how he couldn’t feel his legs,” Belcher told the site.
Belcher weighs 350 pounds, he told MLive, and has squatted 950 pounds. But the black Jeep Cherokee weighed roughly two tons.
The 29-year-old stuck his arms inside the car and “just grabbed it,” he told Fox News, hoping to move the car that had trapped the man against a speed limit sign.
Lifting and pushing, Belcher leveraged his weight to move the car perhaps three feet, he told the network, enough to free the man so that others could pull him to safety.
On the burst of strength that allowed him to move the car, Belcher told Fox News, “Where it came from, I can’t tell you.”
The man freed from the car and a woman also involved in the crash were transported to a hospital in critical condition, Huron Valley ambulance told MLive. No fatalities were reported.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Belcher said he visited a hospital to meet the man he freed from car, identified by MLive as 36-year-old Montrell Tinsley.
Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derrick Jackson told the site that the Jeep was stopped on Michigan Avenue when a second vehicle struck it from behind.
Belcher’s son calls him the Hulk, he told WXYZ-TV. But he said he’s uneasy about hero comparisons since Thursday’s incident.
“To say that I’m a hero, I don’t know. But I’m glad to have been there, and I was put there for a reason,” he said.
See Belcher’s interview with WXYZ-TV’s Alan Campbell in the report below.