New Hope Officer Risks Own Life to Save Another
What’s the first thing that comes to mind if you see a burning vehicle in a ditch? It’s probably not jumping into the vehicle, knowing the flames could spread at any moment. But that’s what happened to New Hope police in a situation where they didn’t know what to expect.
A crisis like that is why K9 officer Miguel Robles wanted to become a cop in the first place. Last July, the 11-year New Hope police veteran got a chance to fulfill his duty in an unexpected way. It was 3 a.m. when New Hope police received a call about an erratic driver on Highway 169 near Bass Lake Road.
“I saw a van in the ditch with the engine revving,” Robles said. “So we went to investigate and found the driver unconscious in the vehicle.
Robles says he wasn’t sure what to expect. Given the time of day, it was likely a drunken driver. But revving the engine caused another problem.
“Flames were coming out from underneath the engine compartment,” Robles said. “We needed to get him out sooner rather than later. “
It turned out the man was having a medical issue with his foot pushing down the accelerator. Flames were spreading and the man had to be pulled out.
“We were a little nervous, a little cautious but it needed to be done,” Robles said. “Fire was quickly engulfing the car. I didn’t even really think about it, just got in there, got him out.”
It was a close call.
“At one point his rigid body got caught up in the armrest forcing Officer Robles to climb into the burning car to free him,” said New Hope Police Chief Tim Fournier. “Just after pulling the driver out, the entire vehicle burst into flames.”
For his actions, officer Robles received the department’s lifesaving commendation.
“I was happy, humbled at the same time,” Robles said. “In all honesty it’s nothing that one of my partners wouldn’t have done also if they were there at the same time.”
Officer Robles knows it could have been worse.
“He could have perished in the fire,” Robles said. “But luck was on our side.”