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September 02, 2011
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Video: Police tackle burning car to rescue crash victims

With fire around them, officers pull passengers to safety

By PoliceOne Staff

DES MOINES, Iowa — Dash cam shows Des Moines police save passengers trapped in a burning SUV after a fatal car accident.

In the video, officers arrive and see the vehicle flipped onto its side and in flames. Authorities say it was struck by a Dodge Charger belonging to Michael Lomax, 21, who reportedly ran a red light.

With fire around them, two officers are seen pulling teenage passengers out of the SUV. One officer hoists himself on top of the vehicle, breaks a window, and retrieves the occupants from inside.

Another officer — seen sprinting back and forth between the wreck and the squad car, tossing aside empty canisters — quells the flames while police wait for a fire truck to arrive. Police said the officer used eight fire extinguishers.

Officers Robin Swank, Jeremy Sprague, Aaron Cawthorn, Colin Boone, Sgt. Michael McTaggart, and Reserve Officer John Carter were all involved in the rescue, according to The Des Moines Register. They arrested Lomax, and investigators are waiting to hear if he was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Three passengers in the Explorer — who ranged in age from 14 to 20 — survived. The 22-year-old passenger in the Charger also survived.

Jennifer Garcia, 17, was killed in the crash. She was driving the SUV.






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