Officers Pull Man from Flames After Beltway Crash

Car, engulfed in flames, on shoulder of I-495

Car, engulfed in flames, on shoulder of I-495

Officers suffered burns and smoke inhalation after pulling a man from a fiery car crash on the Capital Beltway last weekend.

When PFC Ramirez ran across a damaged Toyota Camry in the left lane of I-495 a few nights ago, he stopped to render aid to the drivers involved in an apparent crash. After speaking with the drivers, he saw one of them jump into his crashed car, that was fully engulfed in flames.

The officer acted quickly. Inexplicably, the man had locked the doors and refused to get out.

The officer used his baton, broke out the windows of the vehicle, and kept trying to pull the driver out, but the man resisted help.

Two other officers, PFC D.J. Faulk and 2nd Lieutenant C. Riddle, arrived on scene and rushed to aid.

In all, three officers succeeded in pulling the 19-year-old New York man to safety. The car burned.

Two of the officers were treated and released for smoke inhalation as well as burns to their hands and arms; they’ll recover and be back to work soon.

The man was flown to Washington Hospital Center’s Burn Unit, in non-life-threatening condition. He was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, felony hit and run.

The police investigation showed that the man had reportedly been traveling at an extremely high rate of speed, struck a car, forced it into the jersey barrier on I-495 near I-66, then struck a second vehicle. The suspect then crashed his own car, and allegedly tried to keep driving, but the vehicle wouldn’t go further.

Police officers experience the danger of the unknown, the risks, and the uncertainty of what each shift might bring every time they mark on duty. There is no such thing as a “routine” day in the field of law enforcement.