via Police Activity Youtube
Pasco County Deputy Anthony Petersen and two residents rescued a man from a burning vehicle on Saturday around 4:19 a.m. The driver had been traveling westbound on SR 52 near Kent Grove Dr. when the driver traveled backward suddenly towards a tree, according to Deputy Petersen. Petersen along with two residents assisted in dragging the incoherent and combative driver of the vehicle to safety soon after the crash occurred. A body cam attached to Deputy Peterson captured the whole incident. He is seen in the video running towards the car to assist the driver in the burning vehicle. Corporal Peterson arrived at the scene of the crash as the closest respondent to the call on the crash. “There were about 15 to 20-foot flames coming out the hood of the car when I responded to call,” Corporal Peterson said at the press conference held Monday afternoon. The two residents ran over to assist the deputy following the crash. The deputy and residents were able to get one of the rear doors of the vehicle open and pull the male driver out of the car.
“At that moment, it’s kind of instinctual and training, it’s not something that you’re thinking about, you just try to focus on your training,” Petersen said. The two residents are being deemed as heroes as well for stopping to assist the driver and deputy. The first resident has been identified as 26-year-old Crystian Martinez. Martinez is an EMT and he stopped and responded to the car when he saw movement and fire rising from the car. “To me, I’m a single parent, so that’s all I could think about, is in case this driver might be a single driver. Whether he was a parent or not, we were going to get him out of that vehicle alive. I’ve had a difficult time getting hired lately, so I took this as a sign that this is what I need to be doing, this is what I love to do,” Martinez added.
The second person has been identified as Randy Breighner, who was heading home from work. He pulled off to assist Martinez who was already trying to help the driver. “I just ran in and helped the two guys out. I couldn’t take a chance of this guy burning to death and letting the two other guys get hurt. I was just grateful the guy was still alive and that the car didn’t explode,” Breighner said. The fire department arrived at the scene of the crash shortly after the three men were able to pull the driver out of the vehicle. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed that alcohol was a factor in the crash. The driver had minor reported injuries.