MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Braham police reserve officer is alive thanks to the quick actions of a good Samaritan.
Reserve officer Paul Dial was on patrol late Wednesday night when his squad car was hit by an SUV. He was trapped inside when the squad burst into flames.
“I seen that SUV coming,” Dial said, recalling the crash. “And I thought he was going to stop.”
He told the first officer on the scene how he was traveling southbound on CR 107 near 8th Street Southwest when his squad was hit.
“I got hit right in the middle of the intersection,” Dial said. “[The SUV] blew right through the intersection.”
Ryan Smith, 26, says he heard a loud boom and looked outside and saw the SUV on its side and a police cruiser in the ditch. He didn’t think twice or take time to put on his shoes before he ran to help save those in need.
Smith first asked the driver of the SUV if she was OK.
“The lady came from around the SUV, and she said her kids were inside the vehicle,” Smith said. “At that time, I jumped on top of the vehicle and pulled her son out. He was 12, and her daughter was in there. I pulled her out.”
He then turned his attention to the police cruiser and the officer trapped inside.
“He was complaining about pain,” Smith said.
Unable to find the fire extinguisher, Smith did what he could to get the officer out of the car.
“I bent down and I asked the guy to put his hand around my neck,” Smith said.
He was able to lift Dial out before the fire got them both.
“The flames got big real fast,” Smith said.
By the time first responders arrived the situation was critical. Crews had to stand back and watch the fire consume the car, and ammunition pop off.
“I heard two shots go off,” Dial said.
All the ammo was eventually spent, and the flames were snuffed out.
Dial was taken to the hospital. He had no broken bones, but he was sore and black and blue all over.
As for the driver of the SUV and her two children, they are recuperating as well.
Both vehicles were totaled.
Authorities are still investigating the crash.