A 60-YEAR-OLD man was rushed to hospital this afternoon after the car he was driving slammed into a tree at Sulky, north-east of Ballarat.
A police officer returning from training day was among the first on scene to the collision, which occurred on the Midland Highway at 2.35pm.
The officer, Leading Senior Constable Nicki Lewis from Daylesford police, came across two bystanders who were already helping the man out of his crumpled Holden Commodore.
She said the bystanders removed the man from the vehicle despite smoke and then flames erupting from the back-end of the sedan.
"I thought it was going to go up," she said.
"The car was on fire...there was flame visible."
Leading Senior Constable Lewis said no other vehicles were involved in the crash.
"It appears he's got into the overtaking lane and was about to overtake when he lost control," she said.
"I was on a training day, it's lucky I had my radio with me."
Highway Patrol members from Moorabool and Ballarat soon arrived to help slow traffic into one lane, while police from Creswick and Clunes also attended.
Paramedics arrived on scene quickly and immediately began working on the Ballarat man, who was laying on the side of the road.
Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said the man suffered a fractured right shoulder and broken ribs, but his injuries were not deemed life threatening.
He said paramedics stabilised the man in case of spinal or neck injuries.
"There said there was some loss of consciousness, but fortunately there were no head injuries," he said.
"He was taken to the Ballarat Base Hospital in a serious but stable condition."
Fire crews from Creswick, Sebastopol and the Ballarat Fire Brigades arrived and contained the car fire within minutes.
The 60 year old driver was the only occupant of the vehicle.