DORAL (CBS4) – One of this city’s finest has received a special commendation from his Police Chief after dramatic videotape shows how he saved a man’s life while pulling him from the wreckage of two cars. One was engulfed in flames.
Doral Police Chief Ricardo Gomez says it is an inspiring tale of bravery.
CBS4 has obtained a tape that shows the site and sounds following a fiery head-on collision. The images are captured by a camera mounted on the dashboard of a Doral Police car.
A man in a white Porsche that is on fire escapes before the fire erupts. But the driver of a black Mazda is trapped beneath his steering wheel.
Officer Mike Rodriguez took action. He rushed into the Mazda and pulls out driver Gustavo Martinez of Southwest Miami-Dade. The dash cam video shows Rodriguez pulling Martinez across the street to safety.
“It’s just what we do,” Rodriguez told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “I had to react. It’s what I did. I went in and reached under the steering column and grabbed him and dragged him out of the vehicle to safety.”
The video shows how Rodriguez reacted on the scene at Northwest 58th St. at 87th Ave. It was 7:40 on a Saturday morning, March 26th. The 23-year-old Rodriguez has been an officer with Doral for two and a half years.
“That’s our job, to protect the citizens. Sometimes we have to put our lives in danger,” said Rodriguez.
And for that, as we interviewing Rodriguez, Chief Gomez gave him a special red and white ribbon, the department’s life-saving award.
“It’s not every day we’re able to save a life. I’m very proud of the Mike. He did an extraordinary job,” said Gomez. “You pull up to a scene. It’s a crash. You see that vehicle has become engulfed in flames. There’s a danger of explosion. You’re in danger of being injured in that fire.”
In an average year, the Doral Police Department gives out just one of life-saving awards. Rodriguez says he’ll wear it forever with pride.
“I was there at the right time. I was glad I was there to save his life,” said Rodriguez. “I feel great it was captured on video, so we can show citizens what we deal with on a daily basis.”
Chief Gomez told D’Oench, “It’s one of the greatest things you can do, to help your fellow man.”
We were not able to reach Gustavo Martinez. His wife told D’Oench that he was doing well but was out of the country, on a business trip to Colombia.
In the end, Officer Rodriguez told D’Oench he never thought twice about the need to act swiftly.