Two Mesquite, Texas, police officers are being credited with saving the life of an unconscious driver trapped in a burning car Sunday morning.
Officers Ryan Nielson and Autumn Soto responded to a single-vehicle crash near Interstate 30 and Edgebrook Drive at about 4 a.m. where they found the driver of the burning SUV unconscious with his clothes on fire, police said.
“It was pretty intense. I’m just so thankful for him that we were that close, because he had seconds — seconds — left,” Officer Soto told NBC 5.
The officers worked together to pull the driver, 25-year-old Hector Valles, from the burning vehicle and carry him to safety.
“We just relied on our training at that point. We jumped out of the cars, we took off and did what needed to be done to try and save a life,” Soto said.
In a video recording of the rescue the officers can be heard telling the man to "stay with us" as they dragged him to safety. After he regained consciousness, the driver can be heard saying he was the only person in the car.
“Anybody at this police department would do the same exact thing,” Officer Nielson said about his and Soto’s actions. “Officers all across the country do this every single day. It’s not on video. It doesn’t get recognition. But they still go home with that satisfaction that they saved a life.”
Valles was transported by the Mesquite Fire Department to Baylor Medical Center of Dallas with burns and internal injuries. Valles is currently in critical condition.
Valles’ mother, Olivia, released a statement via Baylor Hospital Dallas:
The latest news from around North Texas.
"We would like to thank the Mesquite police officers and witnesses whose heroic efforts saved our son. Hector is strong. He is a fighter. We are thankful to the Lord that he is here, he is recovering and is in good hands."
Investigators determined the driver was headed east on I-30 when he left the roadway and hit a steel pillar that supported a highway sign.
NBC 5's Jocelyn Lockwood and Ben Russell contributed to this report.