10/12/2012

Video: Dramatic rescue by deputy at crash scene

Minn. deputy found woman trapped between the dash and the driver's seat

By PoliceOne Staff

MOORHEAD, Minn. — New dash cam video shows deputies pull a crash victim from her burning car.

Brianna Palotta collided with a vehicle Tuesday as she attempted to pass another driver on Highway 75, causing her to become trapped inside fiery wreckage. Clay County deputies arrived moments later to a dire scene.

“The engine compartment was engulfed," Deputy Mark Empting told WDAY. "It was starting to intrude in the passenger compartment where it was getting near the driver of the car and also us as well."

Empting, who used a pry bar from his squad car to remove Palotta, found her trapped between the dash and the driver's seat of the 2000 Dodge Stratus. He said pulling her out was an instinct.

"I didn't want to stand there and watch somebody burn," Empting said.

Less than a minute after removing Palotta, who has a history of intoxicated driving offenses, Empting saw flames emerging from the entire Stratus. State police took a blood sample that will undergo testing to determine if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Additional law enforcement and nearby citizens assisted two injured passengers who were inside the second vehicle.

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