ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — With the help of citizens and VDOT employees, a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office saved a woman from a burning car on Tuesday.
Virginia State Police said the crash occurred at 2:14 p.m. on June 15, along Gold Dale Road at Childress Road.
VSP said the crash occurred when a 2013 Honda Civic was going east on Gold Dale Road when it crossed the double solid yellow center line at a high speed in an attempt to pass an eastbound 2014 Mercedes C300. The Honda then ran off the left side of the road, overcorrected and hit the Mercedes.
State police said this impact caused the Mercedes to hit a tree head-on and catch on fire. The Honda ran off the right side of the road and hit a fence before coming to a stop.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Deputy Bryan McFarlane was on his way to another call when he came upon the accident. They said one car was overturned in a field and the other was about 100 yards down the road.
He first helped the female driver out of a car in the field. Bystanders then yelled to get his attention, saying the car that was further down the road was catching on fire with a woman trapped inside.
The sheriff’s office said Deputy McFarlane responded quickly, emptying a fire extinguisher and then running back to his truck to grab a gallon of water that he also poured on the fire. While several VDOT employees and citizens assisted him, emptying more extinguishers.
With the blaze getting worse, the sheriff’s office said McFarlane went back to his truck, hooked a tow strap to the door of the Mercedes, and then tried to pull the door open. This failed, so he cut and repositioned the strap, then backed his vehicle up. This time he was able to get the door open long enough for VDOT employees and civilians to pull the woman out of the car.
VSP said the driver of the Mercedes, a 21-year-old woman, of Locust Grove, suffered life-threatening injuries and was flown to VCU Medical Center for treatment. She was wearing a seatbelt.
“If it were not for the quick thinking of Deputy McFarlane and the help of the VDOT employees and citizens, this could have had a very tragic outcome,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
The driver of the Honda, Sky L. Travers, 21, of Locust Grove, suffered minor injuries in the crash and was transported to Mary Washington Hospital for treatment. State police said he was not wearing a seatbelt.
Travers was charged with driving under the influence, maiming, failure to drive the right side of the roadway and failure to wear a seatbelt. VSP said he was transported to the Central Virginia Regional Jail where she is being held without bond.
VSP’s Culpeper Division Crash Reconstruction Team responded to the scene and is assisting with the ongoing crash investigation.