A Salt Lake police officer whose patrol car caught fire after a crash on early Saturday suffered only small injuries, and this was because of the quick thinking of two bystanders who pulled the unconscious officer from his burning vehicle.
When they heard the crash right before 4 a.m., a security guard and clerk working at the downtown Motel 6 spotted a fire under the patrol car at 600 South and 200 West.
A large commercial-sized vehicle had struck the officer’s car at the intersection after possibly running a red light, according to Salt Lake Police Lt. Bill Manzanares.
The crash knocked the officer unconscious and his vehicle ignited.
Joseph Daniel, the security guard, said he saw a fire below the car started to creep up under the hood. He rushed over to the car and saw the police officer was trapped inside, semi-conscious and with a bloodied face, he said.
“I screamed at him that the car was on fire,” said Daniel, but the door was jammed and the officer couldn’t get out of the car.
“He was beating on the window. I asked him to get a baton, and he was looking for it. I ripped the door handle off and I think that got the door loose a little bit, cause the door was crushed from the wreck. It got open from there.”
Meanwhile, the clerk grabbed hold of a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze.
If the two hadn’t moved so sooner, Daniel said he believes the car could have possibly blown up with him still halfway conscious from the wreck.
The officer, whose name hasn’t been revealed, was admitted a hospital.
“Our SLCPD officer is recovering with minor injuries,” said Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown in a tweet. “I am so grateful for the help of 2 brave citizens.”
Manzanares said the other driver was working with investigators.