Police and Law Enforcement

Dramatic rescue from burning car captured on body-cam video

Video footage as the officer ran up to the burning car.

Video footage as the officer ran up to the burning car.

Body-cam video captured a race against the clock as a Florida deputy and two Good Samaritans narrowly rescued a man from his burning car.

WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE

The video showed Pasco County Deputy Anthony Petersen running toward the burning car as he said “15-to-20-foot flames” shot into the air early Saturday, north of Tampa. The driver was hanging halfway out of the car’s back window.

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Shortly afterwards, Crystian Martinez, a local EMT on his way home from work, saw the car smashed against a tree and ran down to help the deputy. "Instantly it was so hot I had to back up," Martinez told WFTS.

After the two men tried unsuccessfully to pull out the driver, a second Good Samaritan identified as Randy Breighner jumped into action. Breighner was also on his way home from work.

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The three men continued to try pulling the driver out of the car when the driver apparently woke up -- and seemed to put up a fight.

The driver leaned back out of the open window and into the car. Breighner could be seen wrenching the door open and freeing the man’s legs from the front seat.  

All three men then quickly dragged the driver out of the car and away from the flames. Deputy Petersen checked the car one last time for any other passengers before directing his attention back to the driver.

By the end of the two-minute-long body-cam video, medical help arrived at the scene. The driver was hurt, but not too badly.

The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed alcohol was a factor in this crash.

"I just ran in and helped the two guys out. I couldn't take a chance of this guy burning to death and letting the two other guys get hurt,” Breighner told WTSP.