Steven Smalls
WABC screenshot

When a New York Metro-North commuter train rammed into a Mercedes SUV on Tuesday that was stopped on the track, sending the crash site into flames, 33-year-old Steven Smalls, the train’s engineer and a married father of two, sprang into action, pulling trapped passengers to safety, the New York Daily News reports.

Smalls’ sister, Latasha Davis, spoke with her brother about the accident and told the Daily News the heroic actions her brother took to aide passengers. “He recalls a young guy on the train who didn’t even know what was going on and had some broken bones, and my brother helped get him off the train,” Davis said. “He recalls a lot of smoke and chaos.”

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Smalls, an Air Force veteran, is reluctant to call himself a hero, but his family, friends and the public are praising his efforts to save as many passengers as possible. Especially since he was almost impaled after an electrified rail pierced the engineer department.

Small’s father is in awe at how close his son came to death. “I could have lost my son,” Steven Smalls Sr. said.

Smalls, who has been with Metro-North for three years, was promoted just nine months ago. The rail line’s officials are also praising his quick actions, saying that he reacted with the skill of a veteran engineer when he sounded the train’s horn and put the train’s brakes into emergency mode.

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“Thank God he was on that train,” his father said. “God sent him on that train to save those people. He was there at the right time. … The Lord told him what to do. We’re just thanking God.”

Read more at the New York Daily News.