Officers, Good Samaritans Rescue Woman From Burning Car With Seconds to Spare

One officer was off-duty when he saw the accident and swung into action

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An off-duty North Richland Hills police officer was in the right place at the right time to help save a woman’s life Sunday.

Det. Dan Hollister had gone to get lunch after church when he saw an accident along Central Drive in Bedford.

"Honestly I kind of went on auto pilot,” Hollister said.

The woman suffered a medical emergency, skipped over a curb and crashed into a tree.

Bedford Officer Lane Simmons arrived within minutes and knew he had to act fast.

"Smoke was coming out of the trunk at that point. That's when I knew it's completely on fire," Simmons said.

Hollister used the metal tip of his pocket knife to break the woman's window.

"Never used it before for it. It works really well,” Hollister said. "I just remember telling her, 'Hey ma’am, you've got to get out of this car. You're going to get burned if you don't.’"

But her door was wedged against some bushes. Other good Samaritans who had stopped to help yanked the bushes away while Hollister pulled on the door.

"We get the door open,” Hollister recalled Wednesday. “Smoke is just billowing out of the car. It's hard to see. It's hard to breath."

He then used his knife to cut off her seatbelt and they dragged her to safety with little time to spare.

"I knew it was only a matter of seconds before there was actually flames come after us,” Hollister said.

Flames erupted moments after the two officers pulled the woman a little farther away from the car to safety.

"I can't really take credit for it. God put me there,” Hollister said. “Had I been a minute slower or a minute faster the outcome would have been different."

The rescue was captured on video by Simmons' dashboard camera in his patrol car and shared on the department's Facebook page.

The victim, whose name has not been released, is now recovering in the hospital, police said.

Both officers also give credit to the citizens who helped out, including a few nurses.

"It was an all-around team effort,” Simmons said. “You can't ask for anything better."

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