Dramatic body-cam footage of a fiery, Wednesday morning car accident shows several Atlanta police officers smashing the windows of the vehicle to rescue the two occupants.
The accident happened when a car crashed into a column under the I-85 and Cheshire Bridge overpass, a location not far from where the famous I-85 bridge collapse took place earlier this year.
Police say two people were trapped inside of a burning vehicle after it had crashed into the column. Officers broke open the car windows and used an extinguisher to put out the fire that started to engulf both passengers.
The videos show officers arriving on the scene after the crash, with one officer asking a passerby, "Are there people in there?"
Officer Elijah McCall was the second officer to arrive on the scene, behind Officer Michal Skillman. Other officers on the scene were Derek Daniel, Andre Valentine, and Bill Brooks.
“I ran toward Officer Skillman and we traded out,” McCall said. “I handed him the fire extinguisher and he gave me his baton and I started on the window.
“Our main goal at the time was to get those guys out. We weren't really concerned about our safety at the time.”
“We all just took a window and began banging on it, knocking the windows out."
The officers eventually made an opening through the car’s rear window, but soon realized the victims inside couldn’t climb out.
“The heat was tremendous,” McCall said. “We were hearing screams from the guys. To hear somebody screaming that loud, you know they’re asking for help and you're trying to help them but you can't because they're pinned inside.”
Fire department personnel soon arrived to help pull the victims out, but the department said without these officers’ quick actions, the victims -- now identified as Shevron Wilson, 24, and Gary Todd, 20, would have died. Wilson has been identified as the driver. Both were taken to Grady Hospital in serious condition.
The officers appreciate the praise that’s coming their way, but say they were just doing their job, and would do the same thing tomorrow.
“I would do it all over again,” McCall said. “I couldn't work with a better crew. It's our job as first responders to do what we were supposed to do.”
The cause of the single-car wreck is unknown as police continue to investigate this incident.