Mark Copsy saw the smoke inside the car, and watched as the vehicle careered into a curb in Northlake on Sunday afternoon. It took him only a moment to realize the horror--the car was on fire, and there were people inside. Copsy and his 12-year-old son ran the half-block to help.

When they got to the car, Copsy, 42, said he couldn't open the door. Inside, he could see an elderly man in the driver's seat. A female passenger sat next to him, her face white. He tried to smash the glass with his foot, but couldn't do it. In his hands, he held a 20-pound frozen Norbest turkey he and his son had just bought for Thanksgiving.

"I said, `Hell, I'll just use the damn turkey.' And that's what I did," Copsy said. He yelled for the driver to cover his face, and used the turkey to smash out three windows.

By then, police and others had arrived at Wolf Road and North Avenue, and together they pulled the elderly driver out of the car. Northlake Police Officer Mark Pawlak, who had been writing a ticket a block away and abandoned it to help--grabbed the female passenger, from the other side, and together with other bystanders, pulled her out. Despite the efforts of the police officers and bystanders, both occupants, John and Juliana Brani, 89 and 90, of Northlake, were severely burned, authorities said.