A Florida firefighter pulled a Sheriff’s deputy out of a flaming patrol car, after witnessing the incident while taking his son to soccer practice.
Orlando Fire Department’s Lt. Benjamin Wootson and his eight-year-old son were running late to Saturday practice because the child was “dragging his feet,” which may be the reason Deputy Matthew Luxon, 33, is still alive.
Wootson noticed the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office patrol car at it was passing his own vehicle in the opposite direction, and out of his “habit of always looking” in his car mirrors, saw the SUV slam into the support column of an overpass.
“I immediately pulled a U-turn at the next intersection and rushed back,” the firefighter told WFTV9.
“By the time i got on scene, there was a little bit of flames on the underneath of the vehicle, the engine compartment was already on fire.”
Wootson helped Luxon, who was disoriented, get off his seatbelt and yanked him out of the mangled SUV, which had burst into flames after smashing into the pillar head on.
“As I was pulling him out there were probably two golf ball-size flames where his legs were,” he noted.
His intervention was incredibly timely, as immediately after he got Luxon clear of the wreck, the entire vehicle went up in flames and the ammunition in the trunk went off “like fireworks.”
Wootson grabbed the radio off of Luxon’s chest and called in an “officer down scenario.”
Other drivers also stopped to help, including Wootson’s neighbor, who stayed with his son while the firefighter tended to Luxon’s medical needs.
The accident was reportedly caused when the deputy suffered from an unknown medical event, which prompted him to plow into the overpass uncontrolled.
Luxon, who is a member of the Seminole County Sheriff’s SWAT team, was taken to local hospital and underwent several successful surgeries on Saturday before being stabilized, and will have to undergo at least one more.
Wootson for his part, doesn’t think his actions were heroic, and encourages regular people to be vigilant in similar situations.
“Don’t just sit back and watch, get out, do what’s right, (and) make a change,” he remarked. “Because those little things could be long-impact, lasting; it could be generational changes.”
“God put me in a place where we were running late – I was in the right place at the right time to save someone from having a catastrophic injury,” he detailed.
“It’s who I am it’s what we all do. Firefighters, first responders. We are not here to be heroes, we are here to be normal – to help people in need on and off duty,” Wootson concluded.