Deputy saves man from burning car

Posted at 11:02 PM, Sep 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-23 13:17:28-04

POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - A veteran deputy and volunteer firefighter in Powhatan County pulled a man from a burning vehicle Friday night, basically saving his life.

Deputy Harley Crawford was on patrol when he received a call from dispatch about a car speeding down Rt. 60 in Powhatan, officials said.  Crawford attempted to catch up to the vehicle, but pulled up only moments later to find the Dodge Neon engulfed in flames.

"It was a big ball of fire when I got there," said Crawford, a 12-year veteran with the Powhatan Sheriff's Office.

CARFIRE1The driver was unconscious and not responding.  Flames from the vehicle lept high enough to scorch leaves on a nearby tree that are at least 15 feet in the air.

Crawford said he grabbed the fire extinguisher from his trunk, but was unable to put out the flames.  As the deputy searched for a way to put out the fire, the driver stirred and slowly worked his upper body out the driver's side window.  Crawford said he rushed in and pulled the man to safety.

"I've been in law enforcement for 12 years, and I've never had to get someone out of a car like that," said Crawford.  "As soon as we got back to the corner of the car, the whole car was involved from the motor to the tailgate."

The driver was taken to the hospital, but officials said his injuries did not appear severe.

Crawford was quick to point out that the fire department arrived within three minutes of his initial call, and thanks a passerby who stopped to help Crawford care for the driver.

However, Crawford said he does not care for the praise he has already received.

"It's just gratifying that you can do that -- and he's going back home to his family," Crawford said.