LAKE STATION, IN. — An Indiana police sergeant and a local resident are being hailed heroes after pulling a driver from a car that caught on fire after crashing onto a bridge embankment Thursday night.
According to the Lake State Police Department, Sgt. James Lamprecht was on duty in his unmarked patrol vehicle, parked in the police parking lot around 11 p.m. on Thursday, May 25 when he observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed westbound on Fairview Avenue and turning south onto Grand Boulevard, disregarding the stop sign there.
Lamprecht immediately pulled out and attempted to catch up to the vehicle. He lost the driver for a short time before a citizen called authorities stating that a vehicle had gone over the bridge and it was on fire.
When Lamprecht arrived at the bridge on Grand Boulevard near Riverside Drive, he was flagged down by a resideny, Kevin Gaskin. Indiana police sergeant then saw a dark colored SUV down the bridge embankment with flames coming out of the engine compartment.
Lamprecht grabbed a fire extinguisher and began to climb down the steep embankment with Gaskin who told him that someone was in the car.
Once they were able to get to the vehicle, Gaskin open the driver’s door where they found an unresponsive man slumped over the steering wheel.
The flames from the vehicle began to get bigger as Lamprecht cut the seatbelt and pulled the driver from the car.
Lamprecht and Gaskin attempted to bring the driver to safety up the embankment before other officers arrived on scene. The group reportedly “nearly had to lift him above their heads to other officers who were waiting to assist near a guard rail at street level.”
“If not for the actions of Sgt. Lamprecht and Mr. Gaskin, it is certain that the driver would have perished at the scene,” Lake State Police Department stated.
Sgt. Lamprecht injured his knee during the incident.
“(Sgt. James Lamprecht) quick thinking and heroism displayed in saving the driver is no surprise to anyone that knows him or works with him. Also, without the help from Kevin Gaskin, this could have had a vastly different outcome for the driver and Sgt. Lamprecht.
The driver was transported to a local hospital before being flown to a Chicago area hospital where he remains unresponsive and in critical condition.