Had it not been for the quick actions of three Lee County sheriff's deputies who work out of the East District in Lehigh Acres, the driver of a car that was on fire after a crash on Homestead Road and Arthur Boulevard, a fatal could have occurred.
Deputies Gabriel Rose, K-9 Deputy Julio Lock, and Sgt. Chris Lalor were honored with a standing ovation at the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon held at The Hut restaurant in Buckingham last week.
Capt. Todd Garrison told the group that the three deputies had just come on duty for a detail and heard the call concerning a serious motor vehicle crash on Homestead and Arthur Boulevard on March 15.
Three Lehigh Acres Sheriff’s deputies were honored at the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon for saving the life of a person involved in an accident. Shown here are from left, Inke Baker, president and CEO of the chamber; Capt. Todd Garrison, Sgt. Chris Lalor, Deputy Julio Lock, and Deputy Gabe Rose.
The caller said a motor vehicle and a garbage truck had collided and the caller thought there were likely to be serious injuries in the crash.
When the three deputies arrived on scene, they found the vehicle was actually on fire in the engine area of the vehicle and it was spreading quickly.
A passenger was found on the ground near the car with serious leg injuries, along with two other passengers that were able to get out.
Garrison said the deputies discovered that the driver was still in the car and was non responsive.
He said the fire and smoke were beginning to encroach on the passenger compartment of the vehicle further endangering the life of the driver.
The three deputies reacted quickly by using their issued fire extinguishers and were able to put out the blaze before the fire department had arrived on the scene.
Garrison said the deputies tried to rescue the driver because they were afraid the car could catch on fire again. He said they learned the driver could not be pulled out of the vehicle. He was pinned in and needed the "jaws of life" to be removed, Garrison said.
When the fire department arrived and took over rescue of the driver, they also provided medical assistance to other occupants of the vehicle.
Members of the chamber gathering were told that had it not been for the quick response, assessment, and action of the three deputies, the driver would not have survived the crash, which was confirmed by the Florida Highway Patrol which took over the investigation. The driver was in serious condition but did survive the crash.
Plaques had been prepared by the chamber of commerce and President and CEO Inke Baker participated in the presentation.
In past meetings, outstanding employees of businesses in Lehigh and also outstanding members of the chamber have been honored. Baker said there had been no nominations this past month and asked members to consider nominating outstanding people in the community to be honored by the chamber.
The next luncheon will be on May 27 with doors opening at the restaurant's special dining area, away from the main part of the restaurant, at 11 a.m. with lunch served at 11:30 a.m. Members of the chamber and guests are encouraged to attend and should RSVP the chamber at least a week before the next meeting. The chamber luncheon is held on the last Tuesday of each month.