After a Florida driver went down the wrong side of I-95 and crashed directly into another car, police officers smashed open windows and cut airbags in a daring attempt to save lives.
And a body camera on one of those officers recorded the shocking rescue effort as smoke billowed from the burning cars.
Police say 23-year-old Devon Standish died after he was going the wrong way on I-95 in Edgewater, Florida — and then ran directly into the front of 22-year-old Logan Aschendorf’s vehicle, according to WKMG-TV. The crash happened just before 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Joe Mahoney, the interim police chief of the Edgewater Police Department, praised responding officers’ last-ditch efforts to rescue Aschendorf from his mangled car, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
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“These officers (were) acting courageously and selflessly during this rescue,” Mahoney said, according to the newspaper.
The body camera footage shows the officers sprint to the wrecked cars — and then break open windows in an attempt to save anyone inside. Heavy clouds of smoke make it hard for the coughing officers to breathe, the video shows, but they continue to pry open doors and slash through airbags anyway. One officer uses an ax to hack away at the car’s driver-side door.
Mahoney told The Daytona Beach News-Journal that one of the officers “was treated for smoke inhalation and later released.”
Aschendorf, who was pulled from the car, is receiving treatment for serious injuries at Orlando Regional Medical Center, according to WKMG-TV. Police say other drivers called 911 with concerns about Standish driving down the wrong side of I-95.
“I almost slammed into him, I had to snap over into the right lane,” one driver said during a 911 call, according to The Daytona Beach-News Journal. “And you gotta lot of trucks out here, so, I’m just hoping he either figures it out or something.”
“I saw lights coming dead at me and swerved,” a second said, according to the newspaper. “I’m talking the last [expletive] second.”
Police say that crash caused another collision, too. A dump truck, which was carrying hot asphalt, crashed into a UPS truck whose driver “was slowing down” due to the fatal crash, police say, according to Fox35. It took hours to remove the hot asphalt from highway, police say.
“The driver of the dump truck was transported to the hospital with serious injuries,” Fox35 reported. “The driver of the UPS semi-truck suffered minor injuries.”
Police are investigating if Standish was under the influence of alcohol, according to WKMG-TV.