Battalion Chief Glen Holder of the San Diego Fire Department told 10News Thursday's Kearny Mesa crash in was an especially intense rescue for firefighters because the middle of the sports car rolled over and crushed the driver's legs.
Pulling apart the car with the jaws off life would have also pulled off the driver's foot.
"This patient was just in incredible pain and screaming and yelling and flailing," Holder said.
So firefighters switched to a saw, which still vibrated the driver's already battered body so they moved to even smaller tools-- pocket knives.
"Slowly, piece-by-piece (they) pulled the dash apart," Holder said. "In a badly deformed car and down on the floor with a pocket knife, (they) tried to cut the carpet apart."
The hour-long rescue exhausted firefighters both physically and emotionally.
"Somebodys got to talk to the patient, somebody's got to talk to this guy, calm him and reassure him while he's in excruciating pain," Holder said.
Firefighters took turns holding the driver's hand as they freed him from the demolished car.
The young man is expected to be okay, although his legs are badly injured.