Former Deputy Crawford Defends His Rescue - ABC 8NEWS - WRIC | Richmond, Virginia News & Weather

Former Deputy Crawford Defends His Rescue

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POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)—The Powhatan County sheriff's deputy who resigned after an internal investigation of a weekend car wreck put his integrity in question is sticking with his story.

Former Sheriff's Deputy Harley Crawford gave 8News a detailed account of the dramatic rescue after it happened on Sept. 21; he said he was looking for a reckless driver near Anderson Highway and Bell Road when he came across a car that had crashed. Crawford claims he pulled the 21-year-old driver to safety seconds before the vehicle burst into flames. But the deputy quit on Wednesday when an internal investigation revealed some of his statements about the incident were inaccurate.

Though Crawford says his account of what happened on Saturday was as truthful as he could remember, some of the details just didn't add up. He's shocked to find that some people think he lied on purpose.

"I know the headlines say ‘Deputy Lied,'" Crawford said. "That's not the truth; there was no lie."

"It felt like it took an eternity while this is going on," the former deputy said, recalling his actions early Saturday morning. "I'm calling for help on the radio asking if any other deputies are close by with another fire extinguisher."

Crawford says he used up one fire extinguisher, but the fire raged on. He ran across the street to see if a nearby store had one, but it was closed.

"Like I said, I don't know how long; it felt like forever," he said. "It's a chaotic scene. It's scary. You're nervous; your adrenaline is going all together. So when I turn to look back at the car, I see him coming out of the vehicle. At this point is when I run to the car and all I remember is him coming out of the car. I grab him at some point and help him back to my vehicle."

That's the moment in question—did Crawford pull the man out of the car, or was the driver, who has been charged with DUI, already outside lying on the ground?

"I just didn't remember," Crawford said. "I didn't remember how it transpired; there was so much going on. Do I think that if I didn't do what I did that he would have been badly injured or died? Yes I do."

After 10 years as a deputy and 18 years as a volunteer firefighter, Crawford was asked to resign.

"I feel like I did everything I could that night," he said. "Whether or not I forgot a detail or not, because of the situation, the chaos, I can't help that."

Crawford says he would take his job back if offered to him.

 

Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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