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Turlock man comes forward as Good Samaritan who saved man from burning car

By Kay Recede

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    TURLOCK, California (KCRA) — A good Samaritan who had saved a man from a burning car in Turlock more than a month ago has been identified as Floyde Watts Jr.

Turlock police have been looking for the man seen on surveillance cameras dragging a man to safety on April 14. Watts came forward two weeks later but wanted to remain anonymous at the time.

Watts shared his story Monday, in hopes the community may help with another effort. Watts pulled weeds when we met him, the burn scars on his hands were reminders of the action he took that night.

“I pried onto the door — the back passenger side — to try to get him out. It burnt my hands, and I heard somebody in the inside screaming for help,” Watts said.

Watts was looking for recyclables that night when he heard the cries for help. He admitted that he hesitated at first because he did not know what to do. However, he said his conscience would not let him stand by.

“I just don’t know what happened, what took me to really open that door, because I don’t really know what I was doing,” Watts said.

Images shared by the Turlock Police Department show Watts moving the person trapped in the car away from the fire. That person was identified by family as Robert Arndt.

Watts said he fled from the scene shortly after saving Arndt because he had a warrant issued in Tuolumne County for his arrest. The warrant was for drug possession charges stemming from an incident in 2020.

However, Watts said accountability is sometimes bigger than fear.

“I mean, not everybody would have done what he did. I think he’s (Floyde) a great person,” Daniel Arndt, Robert’s father, said after speaking with Watts. “I mean, I really appreciate what he did for my son. If not, I’d be making funeral arrangements, instead of raising enough money to go see him.”

Daniel Arndt, who spoke to KCRA 3 over the phone from his Indiana home, said his son has been in critical condition since the accident. He said his son is a Marine veteran who had been homeless for at least 20 years, grappling with drug issues and diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Daniel is unsure of just how much of his son’s body was burned, but he has been trying to get to Turlock to find out for himself.

“He’s been through several surgeries, his last one was on the 12th, and they had to amputate three of his fingers and two of his toes,” Daniel explained.

Watts shared his story in the hopes that the community can help the Arndt family, by donating money so Daniel can be by his son’s bedside.

“That’s what I want — that’s my reward. I want him to have his father here,” Watts said.

As for the warrant, Watts said he does have a court date in Tuolumne County set for June 1. He is facing misdemeanor drug possession charges and said he is prepared to face the consequences.

“If that’s what I have to do, then that’s what I’m going to do,” Watts said.

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