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VIDEO: Des Moines Police Rescue 2 People from Burning SUV in Fatal Crash at Southeast 14th St & Hartford Ave

Fri September 02 2011 1:08 pm
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Des Moines, Iowa police just released dramatic dashcam video that shows officers pulling people out from a burning car rolled on its side during a fatal crash early Sunday, August 28, 2011.

Des Moines police and firefighter/paramedics responded Sunday about 3:00 a.m. Sunday to car vs. SUV rollover crash at the intersection of Southeast 14th Street and Hartford Avenue. Police report that a Dodge Charger driven by Michael Lomax ran a red light and slammed into the driver’s side of a Ford Explorer, and rolled it on its side.

The crash killed the driver of the Ford Explorer, Jennifer Garcia, 17. Three passengers — Alexandra Cordova, 18, Irania Cordova, 14, and Alejandro Garcia, 20 — in the Ford Explorer were injured, but survived. A passenger in the Charger, Feliciano White, 22, also survived.

Des Moines police on Thursday arrested the driver, Michael Lomax, 21, of Des Moines, and charged him with vehicular homicide by recklessness and failure to obey a traffic control signal. Des Moine, Iowas police arrested Lomax when he was released from Mercy Medical Center. Lomax was transported in custody to the Polk County Jail.

Vehicular homicide by recklessness is a Class C felony, punishable by 10 years in prison. If investigators find Lomax was under the influence of alcohol or drugs he would face up to 25 years in prison. Determination of alcohol or drug involvement will follow the result of toxicology tests, since a breathalyzer test was not performed at the scene

Des Moines Police Department released a video showing showing police and firefighters arriving at the scene of the accident. The two-minute video taken from an officer’s dashboard video, shows the SUV on its side fully-involved. One police officer climbs on top of the burning SUV, breaks through the passenger side window and reaches into the vehicle for the occupants. During the intense fire, two officers pull two people to safety as a fire truck arrives, the video shows.

Another officer attempts to hold back the flames with multiple fire extinguishers. Police said the officer used eight fire extinguishers. The video shows the officer repeatedly tossing aside empty fire extinguishers and warning other officers that he’s running out out. He runs back to a squad car to retrieve new fresh fire extinguishers.

Des Moines police officers involved in the rescue included Robin Swank, Jeremy Sprague, Aaron Cawthorn, Colin Boone, Sgt. Michael McTaggart and Reserve Officer John Carter. No word on whether they suffered any injuries, but it is likely they suffered at least some burns or hand injuries during the rescue.

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