Three Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers rescued a man from a burning SUV late Friday night in the 6100 block of West 71st Street.
Officers were dispatched for a personal injury accident with a vehicle on fire just after 11 p.m. Friday night on the northwest side. An off duty IMPD officer, Sgt. Dale Marshall, was down the street and saw the fire and responded to the scene.
Sgt. Marshall reported to dispatch that the vehicle was on fire and that the driver was trapped inside the vehicle. IMPD Officer Aaron Stanley arrived and the two officers braved the flames to try to get the driver, 40-year-old Miguel Penaloza, from the vehicle.
IMPD Officer Christopher Frazier arrived and saw Officer Stanley leaning inside the burning SUV through the driver's side window. Because of the smoke and flames he could only see the lower part of Officer Stanley's legs sticking out of the vehicle. Officer Frazier rushed to the vehicle and grabbed Officer Stanley by his gun belt and pulled. Officer Stanley was able to hold on to the driver, who was on fire, and the officers were able to get the upper part of Penaloza's body out the driver's window.
The smoke and flames forced the officers to step back to avoid serious injury and to catch their breath. The officers went back two to three more times before they were able to pull the victim free from the vehicle and extinguish the flames on Penaloza.
Officer Stanley was transported to Wishard Hospital where he was treated and released for smoke inhalation and second degree burns to his face and hands.
Mr. Penaloza was also transported to Wishard Hospital with multiple compound fractures, third degree burns over his entire body, amputation of his right foot and internal injuries. He is listed in critical condition.
Alcohol is believed to be a factor in this crash with Penaloza as the suspected intoxicated driver of the White Ford Explorer that crashed.