Marine grunt being considered for award after saving 3 from fiery car crash

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U.S. Marine Cpl. Scott Mcdonell, an assaultman with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, poses for a photo during the Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2019 Distinguished Visitors Day in Palanga, Lithuania, June 15, 2019. Service members from several NATO countries demonstrated their amphibious capabilities and cooperation in a unified amphibious assault in Lithuania for the exercise. BALTOPS is an annual joint, multinational maritime-focused exercise. It is designed to improve training for participants, enhance flexibility and interoperability, and demonstrate resolve among allied and partner forces in defending the Baltic Sea region. (U.S. Marine photo by Lance Cpl. Antonio Garcia/Released)

A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.

Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.

"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."


Despite the car being on fire, McDonell quickly evacuated the three passengers from the flaming wreckage, according to 1st Lt. Dan Linfante, a Corps spokesman. Now McDonnel's unit intends to recommend that his heroism be recognized, though it has not yet decided on exactly what final award will be, Linfante said.

"McDonell displayed extreme courageousness and selflessness in responding to the car accident," Lt. Col. Gabriel Diana, battalion commander, told Task & Purpose in a statement. "I know I speak for the collective when I say that 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment could not be more proud of Cpl. McDonell's actions or more thankful for the lives his actions likely saved."

Diana said he was not surprised by McDonell's actions, given his training and instincts as a Marine.

Along with others who stopped to help, Linfante said, McDonell treated the victims until medics arrived on the scene. Additionally, Linfante said McDonnell accompanied victims to the hospital and helped comfort them and their families until he finally left many hours later.

"It was a situation that just happened," said McDonell. "Anyone could have done what I did. I was just the first person to act on it."

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