This story has been updated.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- As flames roared under the hood and were spreading fast, a Westchester County police officer and the operator of HELP truck forced open the door of a crumpled car and pulled its driver to safety just moments before the vehicle was consumed by fire on Thursday afternoon in Greenburgh.
Officer Christian Gutierrez was traveling southbound on the Sprain Brook Parkway about 4:10 p.m. when he was flagged down by several motorists south of the Eastview exit who told Gutierrez that they had just seen a car go off the road, through a guardrail and down an embankment, according to Kieran O'Leary, public information officer for Westchester County police.
Gutierrez located the vehicle and was speaking with the woman when flames began to shoot out from under the hood. He had requested assistance to extricate the woman from the damaged vehicle but realized there would be no time to wait. The officer and the HELP Truck operator, who had arrived at the scene, began a frantic effort to force open the door and remove the driver before flames spread into the passenger compartment.
Moments after removing her, the fire spread and the car was soon fully engulfed by fire.
The woman, who is in her 80s, was conscious and alert when she was taken by ambulance to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. The cause of the accident is under investigation by New York State Police, which has primary jurisdiction on the Sprain Brook Parkway.
The accident initially resulted in the closure of all southbound lanes before one lane reopened. The southbound lanes reopened just as evening rush hour was ending around 6 p.m.
“The quick and brave actions of Officer Gutierrez and the HELP truck operator certainly saved this woman’s life,” Commissioner George N. Longworth said.
The HELP truck operator has been identified as John Silano.
Check back to Daily Voice for more on the story.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.