Two good Samaritans rescued an Auburn, California, police officer from a burning police cruiser after he crashed during a chase. According to KCRA 3 News, the officer, whose name was not released, crashed his cruiser into a retaining wall while chasing a motorcyclist who had run a red light and sped away.
After crashing into the wall, the officer’s car caught fire, and the door was stuck. Luckily, Jake Estabrook was walking out of his house around the same exact time as the accident. Alongside his neighbor, the pair immediately sprang into action to save the at-risk officer.
“When I looked over the fence, it was a cop car smashed up against a wall,” Estabrook told ABC 10. “I hopped the fence. He was trapped. He had the airbag up against him, he looked hurt. And at the same exact time, people start screaming, ‘the car’s on fire, the car’s on fire!’ I slowly got him out. Once he was out of the car, I backed him up.”
The Auburn Police Department said in a news release, “The officer’s patrol car became engulfed in flames, and preliminary reports reveal the officer was unable to open his door to get out. Two nearby witnesses responded quickly to the situation and were able to pull the officer from the car as the flames continued to engulf the vehicle.”
The officer was taken to a local hospital and treated for injuries and was eventually released.
Chief Ryan L. Kinnan praised the two heroes. “I am extremely thankful for the quick actions taken by the two bystanders tonight. Their courage to put themselves in harm’s way to save our police officer is beyond exemplary. Their actions, without a doubt, saved our police officer from being severely injured or worse,” he said.
Adds Estabrook, “It was just like an instinct. It was just something inside me — I wanted to help him. The way that the car was wrecked, he was not OK, you know? And he’s a human being, and I just wanted to make sure he was OK.”
California Highway Patrol’s Air Unit located the motorcyclist who was trying to hide from officers and brought an end to the chase. The suspect was taken into custody for suspicion of driving under the influence and evading an officer.