WASHINGTON - A Maryland man is sending special thanks to a group of DC police officers who saved his life, pulling him from a burning car in a dramatic rescue that was captured on body-worn camera video.
Michael Smith remains in intensive care, where he is recovering from a fractured leg and pelvis. The 58-year-old man still can't get out of bed, after he struck a light pole on Bladensburg Road. However, he asked FOX 5 to pass along a message he recorded for the police officers who saved his life.
"I want to say thank you, sincerely, from the deepest part of my heart, and I will be contacting you when I'm better to thank you in person for being there and saving my life," Smith said in a video message for the DC police officers.
A 5th District officer was on his way back to the station when he saw Smith's wrecked car, smoke and flames pouring from the hood. On the video, he's heard saying, "I believe there is one inside," adding that he was going to break the window to get the person out. The officer then asks Smith if he can open the door, and tells him to take his seatbelt off as he rushes to pull him from the burning car.
The flames from the hood were beginning to build just as Sgt. Nicole Brown, Ofc. Steven Hines, Ofc. Roberto Adams, Ofc. John Hines, and Ofc. Jacoby Taylor were able to pull Smith to safety.
Smith, who works as a truck driver, was conscious when he was rescued, but his wife Tonia says he now has no recollection of what happened just before or after the wreck. He lives in Montgomery County with his wife and three teenage sons.
Tonia Smith met FOX 5's Paul Wagner outside the hospital Thursday, and she also had a message for the officers.
"They are angels in uniforms," Tonia Smith said of the men who saved her husband. "I mean, there are no words for the heroism and the bravery that they displayed in saving him".
She said she had no idea a video of the rescue even existed until she started getting calls from family and friends early Wednesday morning. When she got to the hospital, she showed the video to her husband.
"He was just like, 'Thank you, Jesus. Thank you to the police officers, thank you God.' It was overwhelming. He was very emotional watching it."
Tonia Smith says she and her husband can't wait to thank the officers in person.
"We are so grateful for everything that you do, every day and especially on that day--yes," she said.
Mr. Smith has a long road to recovery ahead of him. It will be months before he is back to feeling like he was before the crash. His wife says he doesn't' know why he crashed that night, but he is a diabetic and that may have had something to do with what led to the crash.
Original story: MUST SEE VIDEO: DC police officers save driver from burning car