Hopkinsville police save driver from fiery crash - WSMV Channel 4

Hopkinsville police save driver from fiery crash

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HOPKINSVILLE, KY (WSMV) -

A team of Hopkinsville police officers helped rescue a man from his burning car early Sunday morning. Police said Martez Nelson slammed his car into a bridge on North Drive in Hopkinsville. The car burst into flames.

Officer Federico Rodriguez was less than two miles from the scene when the call went out.

"When I first arrived I saw a car fully involved, flames out the windows. My first thought, no one survived the accident," said Rodriguez.

The driver did survive the crash; however, to Rodriguez's horror, the driver was trapped inside the car.

"He looks right at me and tells me, 'You need to help me.' So I pulled my baton out and bust the window. I see him trying to open the door, but it wouldn't open. I tried pulling him out by his arm, but I didn't have a good enough grip. I kept going deeper into the car, bear hugging him," said Rodriguez.

In the end it was teamwork and determination not to give up in the face of danger that saved the driver from a fiery death.

"Another officer showed up, tried to put the fire out, but the extinguisher malfunctioned. He helped me pull the guy out. At this point a supervisor shows up, his extinguisher worked. However the driver is only half way out of the car, flames licking over us, burning us. At that point the supervisor is able to push the fire back just enough with the extinguisher, where we got a good hand on the guy and pulled him to safety," said Rodriguez.   

The driver suffered burns over 25 percent of his body. He was airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center where he will have to undergo a series of skin grafts. 

The officers on the scene are being recommended for the Medal Of Honor, the highest award an officer in the department can receive.

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