A North Texas man has plenty to be grateful for after surviving a fiery crash thanks to an off-duty hero.
Drive the Loop 820-split at Interstate 35W in Fort Worth and you’ll see remnants of a fiery crash that linked two men driving home from work in mid-August: a welder and Grand Prairie’s assistant chief of police.
“It was just he and I going up the ramp,” recalled Anthony Hogan of GPPD. “And he hit the center where you can go north or south, the center divider.”
Michael Loya tried to take the exit ramp but ended up hitting the concrete divider.
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“For some reason, it happened the way it did. It was a freak accident,” said Loya.
His work truck struck the barrier hard.
“[The truck] just went straight up in the air and came down,” said Hogan.
Hogan, who was off-duty, did not hesitate to stop his vehicle and run to help the trapped driver, even after getting close enough to see flames and flammable tanks in the back of Loya’s welding truck.
“I knew I had to get him out because I could see the fire was underneath the truck,” said Hogan. ‘And I could see him, and his door was crushed shut, but I was able to pull him out from the window.”
Loya says he was in-and-out of consciousness.
“The officer told me I stopped breathing a couple times,” he said. “I remember the explosions because he [Hogan] told me 'ok, it’s about to explode' and I remember feeling the heat, but I couldn’t stand up. I couldn’t move.”
Loya suffered a broken foot, fractured neck and spine, but is back home with his wife and three kids.
‘Survivor’ and ‘hero’ reunited for the first time this week at the Grand Prairie Police Department.
“You don’t know who’s going to be there to help you, but there’s a lot of good guys out there,” said Loya, praising officers who go-above-and-beyond the call of duty.
“I want to say thank you,” he said. “[You] didn’t have to do it and you did it. I’m very lucky to have you, I feel like he’s an angel.”
But ask the humble leader and he’ll tell you what he did is what officers on and off-duty do every single day around the country.
“I’m no different than any other officer out there,” said Hogan.