Lifestyle & Human Interest

Car Crashes, Ejects Passenger and Ignites in Front of Police Department: Driver, Passenger Survive


On the list of most convenient places to experience an emergency, a police department ranks pretty high. At least one driver owes his life to that fact.

The Garland Police Department in Texas recently experienced an incident that was basically brought to their doorstep when a car crashed on the road in front of the department building.

The accident took place at around 3 a.m. on Oct. 13, after a speeding car hit a curb, flipped and caught fire. The passenger was ejected from the vehicle on impact, but the driver was unconscious as the car combusted.

Officer Matthew Fuhs, who has been with the department for five years, immediately responded. Along with him was his rookie partner, Chris Hataway — and it was his first day on the job.

The two officers approached the driver, who was unresponsive, and wrestled him out of the car while the flames threatened them all.

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“Come on, man,” one of them can be heard in the bodycam video that has been shared since the accident. “Come on, man. We’ll get you out.”

Between the two of them, they managed to get the driver out of the burning vehicle and onto safer ground. Despite the tense moments and the severity of the wreck, neither the passenger nor the driver sustained serious injuries, which is a miracle in its own right.

“This morning, just before 3:00 am, Garland Police Officers responded to a single-vehicle accident that occurred on Forest Lane in front of the Garland Police Department,” the department shared on Oct. 13.

“The passenger was ejected and the vehicle immediately caught on fire. The officers observed one unconscious person still inside the vehicle.

“Body-cam video captures the officers fighting through the intense heat while the fire quickly overtook the vehicle. With only seconds left, the officers desperately pulled the unconscious man out of the burning car before it became fully engulfed.

“The driver and passenger were transported to the hospital from injuries sustained from the crash. The injuries were non-life-threatening. We are very proud of these officers for their quick response and heroic acts.”

Later, Officer Fuhs explained some of the decision-making that took place in the wee hours of that Wednesday morning.

“There’s only a certain amount of control that can take place, and this was uncontrolled,” Fuhs told KDFW. “And so, we approached the guy and my just first thought was, ‘I’ve got to try and get him awake.’

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“He was unconscious. He wouldn’t come to, luckily my other partner was there, and we both grabbed ahold of him and at some point, within I mean mere seconds, we were able to get our hands on both of his, both of his arms and pull him out before the fire approached his feet and started to burn him.

“It’s part of the job when you sign up for this,” Fuhs continued. “It’s a moment of instinct. I knew going into this that this wasn’t a normal wreck. It was a fire and things could get ugly.

“But that’s my job, what we’re called to do and that’s my job, so.”

Fuhs also recognized Hataway’s collected manner and professionalism, first day on the field notwithstanding.

After this baptism by fire, many are saying Hataway is no longer a “rookie.”

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