Police rescue unconscious driver from burning vehicle

Irene Lane Crash

Oak Ridge police officers rescued an unconscious driver from this burning vehicle on Friday night. (Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge Police Department)

Oak Ridge police officers rescued an unconscious driver from a burning vehicle that went down an embankment on Irene Lane on Friday night, authorities said.

The unnamed driver, a 26-year-old Oak Ridge resident, was taken by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville after the 11:30 p.m. crash, which shut down the northbound lanes of North Illinois Avenue, authorities said.

Eight officers responded, and they used fire extinguishers to fight the flames and keep police from getting burned, an Oak Ridge Police Department statement said. The Oak Ridge Fire Department also responded.

The ORPD statement said Officer Ray Steakley jerked the driver’s side window frame to a 90-degree angle to reach the driver’s compartment, after which he and Sgt. Ron Boucher rescued the trapped driver by pulling him through the window.

Oak Ridge Police and Fire at Irene Lane Crash

The northbound lanes of South Illinois Avenue were shut down while emergency workers rescued an unconscious driver from a burning vehicle that went down an embankment at Irene Lane on Friday night.

There was no one else in the vehicle. It reportedly hit utility poles on the embankment, which is above a small apartment complex.

Here is the Oak Ridge Police Department statement:

On Friday, April 26, 2013, at approximately 11:30 PM, Oak Ridge Police Officers were dispatched to a single motor vehicle crash on North Illinois Avenue, at Irene Lane.

Initial reports were a vehicle left the roadway, struck multiple utility poles, and was down an embankment on fire.

Officer Christopher Wallace was the first officer on the scene within one minute of being dispatched, and reported the driver, who was the lone occupant, was unconscious and trapped inside the burning vehicle. Officer Wallace directed responding personnel to deploy fire extinguishers upon arrival, as the engine compartment was fully engulfed in flames.

Officer Ray Steakley and Sergeant Ron Boucher arrived next, followed by Officers Christopher Carden, Christopher Luethge, Max Smith, Nathan Stinnett, and Trae Sweeten, who used their fire extinguishers to prevent the fire from burning Sergeant Boucher and Officer Steakley.

Eyewitnesses reported Officer Steakley forcefully jerked driver’s side window frame to a 90-degree angle to access the driver’s compartment, after which he and Sergeant Boucher rescued the trapped driver by pulling him through the window. The driver, who is an Oak Ridge resident, was transported to UT Hospital by ambulance.



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  • http://www.facebook.com/terry.alcorn.7 Terry Alcorn

    My family and I were headed down Illinois Ave when this truck passed us at a very high rate of speed. My wife and I immediately commented at the speed. As I looked in my mirror I saw the truck collide with the utility poles and disappear from view. I turned around to see if there was anything we could do. There was a van headed up Illinois behind this truck and slowed but never stopped. My son called 911 and within a minute or so the first officer showed up. We watched as the officers that followed extinguished the fire and pulled the man from the wreckage. After the emergency personnel showed up we left feeling there was nothing more we could help with. In hindsite I feel we should have stayed to offer our eyewitness account.

    • http://www.facebook.com/johnhuotari John Huotari

      Terry, I’ll try to follow up today. Police were not releasing his name yesterday, so I couldn’t call UT Medical Center to get his condition.

    • johnhuotari

      Terry, I did a follow-up story. The driver, a 25-year-old Oliver Springs man, has been discharged from the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

      Here’s the link to the new story: http://oakridgetoday.com/2013/04/30/man-pulled-unconscious-from-burning-truck-discharged-from-ut-hospital/

      • http://www.facebook.com/terry.alcorn.7 Terry Alcorn

        Thanks John!

        • http://www.facebook.com/johnhuotari John Huotari

          You’re welcome.

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