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‘God really watched over me’: Lawrence man called a hero after running across highway to help driver

Adolfo Molina Burgos posed with Lawrence Mayor Brian A. DePeña.Mayor Brian A. DePeña/Facebook

As snow swirled on a Massachusetts highway last week, traffic abruptly slowed. Through his car window, Adolfo Molina Burgos saw the problem: a seemingly out-of-control blue vehicle scraping against the guardrail. The driver appeared to have lost consciousness.

He knew the woman needed help and did not hesitate, sprinting across several lanes and dodging cars to reach the runaway vehicle with little regard to his own safety. After a video of his daring efforts went viral online, the 24-year-old is being heralded as a hero.

On Jan. 23, Molina Burgos was driving on Interstate 93 with a friend to pick someone up at Logan International Airport in Boston when he spotted the woman in the blue car, he told the Globe in Spanish. A native of the Dominican Republic, he moved to Lawrence five years ago, where he lives with his family and works as an Uber driver.

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He flung open the passenger side door and jumped into action, while another driver recorded the scene.

“I’m running through traffic,” he recalled. “I try to open the door first, but it didn’t open initially. I ran even faster.”

Once he caught up fully with the car, he realized the passenger door was locked.

Knowing he needed to act quickly, he began gesturing for help and calling out for an object that would allow for him to break the window.

“Another Dominican heard me,” Molina Burgos said. “He brought two pieces of wood that were kind of thick, and I kept saying, ‘Break the window. Break the window.’”

By now the car was going about 20 mph, Molina Burgos estimated, and their attempts to get a forceful shot at the window were futile. The sticks blew away and the vehicle began to drift back into traffic.

“We started pushing the car towards the railing on the side so it wouldn’t go back on the highway and cause an accident,” he said.

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Fortunately, the car was losing momentum and eventually came to a stop, he said. State Police and other first responders arrived and took the driver to Lawrence General Hospital.

“I think it was something from God because I didn’t even see any of the other cars during that time,” he said.

When he got back home, the shock of the experience hit him. He felt weak and his blood sugar dropped. He fell asleep for a couple of hours, unaware that hundreds of thousands of people were watching what he had done.

When he woke up, his phone was flooded with concerned texts from friends.

“My friends asked me if something was wrong because they saw me running on the highway,” he said. “That’s when I saw the video on TikTok ... so I put it on my page, and in an hour, it got almost over a million views.”

Molina Burgos said he has always tried to help others but had never “done anything like this.”

“I think God really watched over me,” he said.

Since the video exploded online, he has been recognized by the Dominican Republic Consulate General in Boston and Lawrence Mayor Brian A. DePeña, who said he “is proud to know Adolfo and his entire family.”

On Thursday, Molina Burgos will fly to the Dominican Republic to meet with President Luis Abinader and other high-ranking officials.

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He had hoped to meet the driver and “give her a hug.” But officials said Thursday that the woman, a 57-year-old from Plaistow, N.H., had suffered a medical emergency on the day of the accident and later died.

Molina Burgos was shocked when he learned the news and said he wanted to share his condolences with her family.

“I tried everything I could to save her life,” Molina Burgos said. “I’m really sorry. I hope that God has her in a good place.”


Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her @shannonlarson98. Randy Vazquez can be reached at randy.vazquez@globe.com. Follow him @RandyVmedia and on Instagram at @RandyVazquezMedia.