Teen survives fiery crash feet from state senator's house

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. —

An Alpharetta teenager is recovering after a violent car crash just feet from a state senator's house.

Police said James Cobb II, 17, lost control of his car on Mid Broadwell Road Dec. 21, then crashed into a brick wall outside of the Brierfield Subdivision.

"We heard a loud noise, 'boom,'" said Sen. Brandon Beach, whose home sits just on the other side of the wall. "I thought a transformer blew or something."

Beach told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik his son looked out the window and saw Cobb's Mercedes in flames.

"It would have (hit) my car if that hadn't stopped him," he said of the wall that curtailed the car's momentum.

Neighbor Theresa Lynch said she also heard the impact and ran outside to investigate.

"I saw fireball, ran back, got the phone, called 911," she said. "That fire licked up about 4 feet in a short time."

Lynch said she tried to get to Cobb, but the fire was too hot and his car too damaged.

"There was no way I could get in, so I just stood there and prayed for him," she said. "It's really a miraculous story."

Lynch said Alpharetta police were quick to arrive, and officers used fire extinguishers to put out the flames and to break the windows to pull Cobb out.

"It's amazing," said Beach. "He had an angel looking after him."

An Alpharetta police incident report attributed the crash to high speed and reckless driving. It said officers took blood from Cobb to determine whether he was driving under the influence.

His father, James Cobb, told Petchenik the Cambridge High School student had gone out with friends the night of the crash after getting off of work.

"It's the phone call you never want to hear as a parent," he told Petchenik.

Cobb said his son suffered some burns in the crash and has back pain but is otherwise recovering.

"He's taking it one day at a time," said Cobb. "He's getting better, getting stronger."

Cobb said he's thankful for Lynch's quick actions and the quick response from police and firefighters.

"She was just fantastic that she was there on the spot at the time she was, because if she hadn't been there and called 911 when she did, surely he would have perished in that accident," he said.