BRAHAM, Minn. (CNN) – He was only wearing socks, but that didn’t stop Ryan Smith from freeing an officer from his burning squad car.
Smith, 26, ran from his Braham home to help when he heard a loud bang on Wednesday night. The driver of a white SUV blew the stop sign near the intersection of South Main Street and Eight Street Southwest and slammed into the officer’s vehicle.
“When I came back up, there was a flame underneath the hood,” Smith said. “At that time I knew he had to come out of there. I leaned down and told him to grab my shoulder and wrap his arm around mine. Then we started walking away from it.”
As they walked away, the intensity of the flames increased. On dash cam video provided by the Braham Police Department, the officer can be heard moaning and groaning.
“Oh my head. Oh my head,” officer Paul Dial said to a colleague responding to the crash.
“Sorry, I know it is uncomfortable buddy. We will take care of you,” the responding officer said.
Police say they’ve responded to numerous accidents at the intersection. While none have been deadly, it is a concern for officers.
“This is an intersection where people do run the stop sign, especially people who are not familiar with the area,” Chief Robert Knowles said. “We’ve had bad accidents there before. The state is aware of it but there is not enough to get any change at this point.”
Knowles said the woman who blew the stop sign had two children in the back seat. Smith helped rescue them, too. He says he is no hero, but he hopes his bravery makes up for all the times he found himself on the wrong side of the law.
“I saved a guy’s life for sure. If I didn’t react like I did he probably would’ve been in there not coming out,” Smith said looking at the shell of the charred vehicle.
Dial is home recovering. Meanwhile, the driver of the SUV told investigators she didn’t see the stop sign. She was ticketed for distracted driving.