A police officer described the heart-stopping moment he risked his own life when he rescued a driver trapped inside a burning car in Miami Shores.
Chilling video posted to social media by Miami Problems captured the aftermath of a violent crash in the area of Northeast 103rd Street and Second Avenue, early Monday morning.
Area resident Allison Chong said the impact woke her up.
“I wake up because the ground completely shook, and I heard, like, the loud bang, and then my boyfriend is screaming, ‘Fireball!’” she said. “I’m thinking, ‘Is there a meteor?’”
What may have looked like a meteor was a burning SUV.
Police said the vehicle was heading east on 103rd Street at the time of the fiery wreck.
Miami Shores Police Officer Calvin Rayburn described what happened next.
“Either lost control or something happened off the roadway. It glanced off this tree,” he said. “The branch is pretty large. It came down and blocked the entire roadway.”
Rayburn, the son of 7SkyForce’s Ralph Rayburn, was the first officer to respond to the scene. He said the vehicle came to rest three houses down from the tree.
Within seconds, Rayburn spotted the driver, still stuck inside the SUV engulfed in flames.
“That’s when I realized, ‘Hey, we gotta get this guy out of the car,’” he said. “He was moving around a little bit. He was starting to come to, and it might have been because fire was heating up the car, and it brought him to, but he started pulling at the window, so I reached in and bear hugged him out of the car.”
The video captured the moment Rayburn dragged the driver away from the burning vehicle on the sidewalk.
Rayburn, who stands 6 feet, 8 inches tall, worked to move the driver to safety as fast as possible.
“It’s life over limb. You’ve got to get him out, and you’ve got to get him out alive,” said Rayburn.
As for the heart-stopping save, Rayburn said his instincts kicked in.
“Ten out of 10 times, I’d do it again. It’s the job,” he said.
The crash left a trail of debris in its wake, including a sign detailing how fast drivers should be going on this street.
Neighbors hope someone takes notice and action is taken.
“They’re speeding here all the time. I really fear for my safety here. It’s horrible. Something needs to be done,” said area resident Petronella Kroboth.
The driver involved later told 7News he was cut off and forced off the roadway. He is not expected to face any charges.