Exclusive Video: Brown County Sheriff’s deputies save alleged drunk driver from burning SUV

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 4:30 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Two Brown County Sheriff’s Deputies are being hailed as heroes for pulling a man out of a SUV after it erupted in flames in a crash.

Investigators say the driver deputies saved early Wednesday morning was drunk, and Action 2 News has obtained dash cam video of the moments officers jumped into action to save the man’s life.

Deputies were called to a Bellevue neighborhood just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“There was a witness that saw the car crash and reported it that they saw the vehicle started showing flames,” said Captain Dan Sandberg of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

Within three minutes of that call, Sgt. Chris Tappen pulled up, with his dash cam rolling, and he ran to the SUV, where flames were shooting into the air inches from the driver’s door.

The video shows Sgt. Tappen pulling hard to pry open the door, grabbing the driver, identified as a 32-year-old Green Bay man, and asking him if anyone else was in the vehicle.

The driver responded by saying “No, not that I know of.”

Deputy Cooper Walker helped Sgt. Tappen pull the man to safety.

They then returned to the still burning vehicle to make sure no one else was inside, and found it empty.

“We think there was a couple things going on there. First off, unfortunately it was another intoxicated driver and he appeared to be disoriented and we think he couldn’t get the door open either, because the car compartment was completely engulfed in smoke,” said Capt. Sandberg.

The video shows smoke billowing out of the open doors, and Patrol Captain Sandberg says he’s both pleased and angry watching the video.

“Very proud of their actions, but it’s also frustrating because again, it’s somebody who’s drinking and driving. And not only are they endangering their own lives, but other people who have to go in there and save them that potentially, you know, my officers could have gotten burned or severely injured because of that,” said Capt. Sandberg.

Investigators say neither of the deputies were injured, and say the driver received minor burns and cuts from the crash, but is otherwise okay.

The driver was later arrested for a first offense OWI.

An ongoing investigation will determine how fast he was driving, his Blood Alcohol Level, and exactly how he crashed.

Seeing the damage that remains in daylight, Capt. Sandberg says it’s lucky his officers reacted so quickly, and never hesitated to run into a dangerous situation.

“We’ve had 13 people that were killed in fatal crashes so far this year. Five of those involved drinking and drugs, and luckily we didn’t have another one to add to that list,” said Sandberg.

You can watch the full dash camera video clip below.

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