According to KXAN, a young man was parking his 2004 4Runner on the top deck of the nine-story Littlefield Garage in downtown Austin when something went wrong. As he pulled into an outward-facing parking spot, the SUV failed to stop and rolled off the edge of the structure. The 4Runner's front axle became entangled in the structure's wire safety barriers and, as it fell, it flipped over and came to a stop in midair, still running, with the terrified driver trapped inside. Zachary Cayson and his two friends had just parked their car in the garage when they witnessed the event.
"I sprinted up the stairwell and I was the first one to get there," Cayson told KXAN. "I introduced myself and we had a quick little chat about what we should do, whether we should stay there and wait for the police and fire department or we should try to get him out of there."
In the heat of the moment, they decided to help the driver out through the open sunroof of the mangled 4Runner instead of waiting.
"We unbuckled the seat belt, and I took one arm and then he kind of swung his legs over to the side and there was a tiny little ledge there right on the other side of the barrier," Cayson told the news station. "He managed to plant his feet on that and I picked him up."
The Austin Fire Department arrived on the scene soon after and carefully cut the 4Runner free from the cables and lowered it to the street. All told, the operation took AFD three hours.
"We just took our time," said Battalion Chief Palmer Buck. "We had to keep it away from the building. We had some electrical conduit and a water line that we wanted to make sure it didn't break on the way down."