Video shows Sterling Heights police rescuing alleged drunken driver from burning car after crash

Sterling Heights police officers save 28-year-old man from burning car

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – Two police officers were caught on video rescuing a suspected drunken driver from a burning vehicle after a crash in Sterling Heights, according to officials.

Police said a 28-year-old Troy man was involved in a severe crash that left the vehicle burning while he was unconscious inside.

Two officers arrived at the scene of the head-on collision near 17 Mile and Dequindre roads just before midnight April 14, police said.

The officers sprinted to a red Dodge Stratus as the engine was burning and the driver was out cold in the passenger seat, according to authorities.

Police said the impact had pushed him out of the driver's seat.

The doors were locked, and while police had a centerpunch to try to break the glass, it didn't work, officials said.

Sterling Heights police Lt. Mario Bastianelli said the fire continued to spread into the passenger compartment, but the driver wasn't responding.

Firefighters were almost to the scene, but they weren't close enough to take over the rescue, police said.

"The driver's side door was damaged, but it was slightly open, so they were able to pull the door open," Bastianelli said.

Troy police told Local 4 the driver had been drunk and wasn't cooperative even when officers pulled him to safety.

Officers Wendall Potts and Jim Sribniak were the heroes, police said.

"Obviously, our officers were willing to risk their own lives to save another, and that's what these officers did," Bastianelli said. "They did an outstanding job."

Troy police said when they got to the scene, an open vodka bottle had fallen out of the car onto the street.

The driver blew a .28 on a Breathalyzer but opted for a blood draw anyway, police said. Those results can take a while, so until they come back, the driver isn't facing charges.

The driver of the Stratus was arrested but hasn't been arraigned, officials said.

About the Authors: