Dallas police are praising a dozen bystanders who rushed to help an officer critically injured Monday when a collision with a stolen pickup forced his patrol car off the road and skidding along a metal gas pipe spanning a creek before slowing and toppling into the water more than 20 feet below.
Following the crash, video shared with NBC 5 shows nearly a dozen people who scrambled down a hillside and into a creek bed where together they worked with police to free Sr. Cpl. Dale Ordogne by rolling his vehicle onto its wheels.
Deputy Chief Albert Martinez said Tuesday that Ordogne was responding to a vehicle theft in progress call at about 2:15 p.m. Monday when he collided with the driver of a stolen Chevrolet Silverado pickup along the 3100 block of South Westmoreland Road.
Martinez said the officer's patrol car and the pickup bounced off each other and Ordogne's car was redirected off the roadway and toward Fivemile Creek.
Instead of going down the embankment and into the creek, Martinez said momentum carried Ordogne's patrol car along an elevated 12-inch metal gas pipe that spans the creek immediately adjacent to the bridge. Ordogne's patrol car eventually slowed down where gravity then forced it to come crashing down into the creekbed.
Martinez said the bystanders first tried to free the officer by kicking out the windshield, but they had no luck. With smoke coming from the car's undercarriage and beginning to fill the cabin, police and citizens decided then to roll the car onto its wheels so they could open the door and free Ordogne.
"They came to us at a moment of crisis, and at the times when we see the worst in humanity this was a moment that they showed us the best of humanity," Martinez said.
Once he was out of the car, the rescuers then moved Ordogne to street level where he was placed in an ambulance and taken to Methodist Dallas Medical Center with critical injuries.
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"Our citizens, our officers and our paramedics worked together, got him out of the creek and got him into an ambulance," Martinez said.
Martinez said Ordogne's "banged up" and "in a lot of pain" but that he's in good spirits and his injuries are not life-threatening.
Meanwhile, officers with the department's Vehicle Crimes Unit continue to search for the driver of the truck. Martinez said between four and six people may have been in the stolen truck at the time of the crash.
At this time, no arrests have been made and no suspects have been identified. Anyone with any information about the crash is asked to call the Vehicle Crimes Unit at 214-670-5817.