Rookie Cop Saves Woman From Burning Van

Officer used baton to break van's window

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Carrollton police Officer Nic Berry saved a woman from a burning van on Friday. (Published Friday, Mar 15, 2013)

    A rookie Carrollton police officer says he was in the "right place at the right time" when he saved a woman from a burning van Friday.

    Officer Nic Berry had parked his patrol car on Interstate 35 near the President George Bush Turnpike to direct traffic around an unrelated accident when a woman suddenly drove up with smoke pouring from her vehicle.

    "She was real frantic," Berry said. "She kept trying to pull on the door and I kept asking her, 'Will it not open?' I kept trying to tell her where to flip the lock as opposed to hitting the electric button."

    But her door wouldn't open.

    "Once I realized you can't open the door, there's nothing we can do to get her out -- that's when I was like, 'We're going to have to get her out,'" he said.

    Berry -- a rookie just four weeks out of training -- knew just what to do.

    With smoke building, he told her to crawl into the back of the van and grabbed the baton tucked in his belt.

    "They train us to aim for the corner of the glass so I just stepped back," he said. "She was in the back seat, of course. And I took my baton and hit it in the corner until it shattered."

    He then quickly cleaned up the shards of glass and dragged her out to safety.

    The van quickly caught fire, but the woman was unhurt.

    "Fortunate enough, we were there at the right place at the right time -- kind of divine intervention," he said.

    The department declined to release the woman's name for privacy reasons.

    Word of the incident quickly spread on social media. The Carrollton Police Department posted the story on its Facebook page and, within a few hours, nearly 2,000 people "liked" it.

    Berry, 27, was working for a trucking company in his hometown of Monroe, La., when he decided he wanted to be a police officer and moved to Texas.

    He said that what happened Friday is one of the reasons he was drawn to police work.

    "So many times, people think there's a negative light shed on cops and that we're just out there to 'get' everybody. That's not the case," he said. "It's nice to have a positive effect on somebody and show them, 'Hey, we do other stuff other than write tickets and take people to jail.'"