A Michigan police officer and bystanders are being hailed as heroes by the police and fire department for their daring rescue of the victims of a fiery car crash on March 18.
According to the Southfield Police Department, a serious high-speed car crash occurred at the intersection of Eight Mile and Northland Drive in Southfield, Michigan, at around 11:30 p.m. that left two vehicles in flames.
Police say the driver of a red Ford Edge was speeding west on Eight Mile Road and ran a red light, colliding with a silver Ford Edge that was crossing West Eight Mile Road from East Eight Mile onto Northland Drive on a green traffic signal.
The violent impact caused both cars to catch fire, leaving the two drivers trapped inside both vehicles.
Multiple concerned citizens who were already on the scene helped to remove the driver of the blazing red Ford Edge using fire extinguishers and their own clothing to smother the fire until rescue personnel arrived.
Meanwhile, the police arrived and helped remove the driver of the silver Ford Edge, who was also trapped in the smoking vehicle.
Southfield Police Officer Patrick McCormick was one of the first responders on the scene.
The officers’ body-worn camera captured the dramatic footage of him breaking one of the windows to access the victim, who was inches from the flames. Despite the danger, McCormick’s training kicked in, and he showed immense bravery as he sprayed down the red Ford Edge with a fire extinguisher before opening the door and pulling the unconscious passenger out of the burning vehicle.
“I saw a person in need of help, and all I could think about doing was to try to get to him and to pull him out of the car as fast as I could so that I could give him some chance in life,” McCormick said in an interview.
The victim was transported to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and later succumbed to his injuries on Sunday afternoon.
McCormick’s heroic actions in the rescue attempt were recognized by the Southfield Police and Fire departments, which commended him for his bravery and awarded him with the Southfield fire chief’s award for putting his life on the line to save another and the Southfield Police challenge coin, a badge awarded for excellence.
“I’m sure he didn’t sign on to fight fires or to deal with fire incidents, but because of his actions that night, you gave this citizen a chance,” Southfield Fire Department Chief Johnny Menifee said during a recent news conference.
McCormick was humble about the recognition he received, saying, “I appreciate it. But at the end of the day, I just did what anyone else would have done.”
The good Samaritans who also acted in the rescue will be recognized at a future awards ceremony as well.
One particular person who went and ran to get a fire extinguisher from a gas station was identified as Mr. Jackson, who assisted McCormick in spraying down the red Ford Edge before he opened the door and pulled the victim out of the burning vehicle.
The driver of the silver Ford Edge suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the crash and is in stable condition.
The incident underscores the dangers of reckless driving and the importance of being prepared for emergencies. McCormick’s bravery in risking his own safety to save the life of a stranger is a testament to the courage and selflessness of first responders who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.