BOCA RATON (CBS4) – How do you thank the man who saved your daughter’s life?
For Bill Motley you begin with a hug and words of praise.
“If it weren’t for him, my daughter would be dead,” Motley said Friday. “If you have children that’s a scary thought and he is forever part of our family.”
Motley was talking about Boca Raton Police Officer Jimmy Jalil and his actions that rescued Motley’s daughter Brianna from a burning SUV.
Jalil arrived on the scene of an accident on I-95 Wednesday night around 8 pm. Dash cam video from his police car shows an SUV on fire with a woman trapped in the front passenger seat.
“I could hear her screaming for me to get her out of there,” Jalil told reporters.
Jalil grabbed a fire extinguisher from his car and handed it to a retired firefighter who stopped to help. Neither man was able to smash open one of the windows.
With the flames creeping closer to Motley, Jalil took out his pistol and shot two bullets into the lower left corner of the passenger rear window, breaking it. He cleared the glass from the window and helped free Motley.
“We moved her up and over the front seat and out through the side rear window,” Jalil said.
Friday Jalil met Motley and her parents Bill and Linda at Delray Medical Center, where Brianna received treatment for her injuries. Jalil humbly accepted the family’s gratitude.
“It has been overwhelming for me,” Jalil said. “It doesn’t really strike home until her father’s telling me that I’m forever part of their family.”
Brianna doesn’t remember any of the accident. She didn’t answer questions Friday — she just smiled and held her father’s hand.
There were two other people in the car with her. The driver was ejected from the SUV and died. Another passenger was also ejected but survived. Motley’s father said that passenger alerted people that Brianna was trapped in the car.
Motley’s doctor said she suffered trauma to her chest and abdomen along with a leg fracture. Minor injuries considering what she endured.
“Clearly, she could have died at the scene,” Dr. Jean Ferber said. “Because of the car being on fire. (Jalil) did a very good job getting her out promptly. She had very little smoke exposure, which really helped.”
For all of the people who helped — Jalil, the retired firefighter and others who stopped to over assistance — Motley’s parents said they deserve recognition for doing a brave and noble thing.
“We have a tendency to use the term hero so loosely today,” Motley said. “What do you say about total strangers that are willing to put their lives at risk to save a total stranger.”