Montgomery County cop, woman he pulled from burning vehicle have emotional reunion

Officer Michael Damskey was on patrol in Aspen Hill last February when he heard a speeding car coming north on Georgia Avenue.

He was outside his cruiser on a traffic stop when he looked to his left and witnessed a horrific crash. That speeding car --estimated to be going over 110 miles per hour---slammed into the back of a car stopped at the light at Bel Pre Road.

A fireball engulfed the car as Officer Damskey grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran toward the wreck.

In seconds he had knocked down the flames and pulled the driver from the car. All of it recorded by a body worn camera the officer had activated just a few minutes before.

The recording was released by Montgomery County Police.

At first you hear the wreck and then see the fireball. Damskey jumps on the radio and says,

"I've just witnessed a PIC (personal injury collision) and one of the vehicles is completely engulfed in flames, I am at Georgia and Bel Pre".

As he extinguishes the flames you an hear him shout, ""Come on baby, come on baby".

Inside the car Rokhaya Ding is unconscious and on fire. Damskey pulls her out and drags her away from the wreck.

In the back round you can hear help is on the way. Multiple sirens screaming up Georgia Avenue.

Damskey again jumps on the radio and says over the air, "We've got one out of the car she is unconscious".

Ding, a 52 year old care giver at a home for people with special needs, is badly burned. Her spine is broken and she is rushed to the Washington Hospital Centers Burn Unit where she stays for months. Undergoing multiple surgeries.

On Friday Ding and Damskey met for the second time. The first was just last week where they had a reunion at police headquarters and Ding was shown the recording from the body worn camera.

The second meeting was to tell their story.

More than a year later Officer Damskey says he couldn't believe his eyes.

 "Thoroughly impressed", he said, "thoroughly impressed because I don't know if I would recover as fast as she would she is tough as nails".

Rokhaya Ding was in a coma after the wreck and spent months in the hospital and rehab. She has no memory of what happened that night and has endless thanks for the officers quick thinking.

"Oh I cannot pay him", she said, "I thank god for saving my life and he was so great, I watched the video".

On Friday the two met again to tell their story surrounded by family and friends.

Friends who are delighted she pulled through.

"I didn't think we were going to have her back", said Kathy Ulman, who's son lives in the group home where Ding works, "I did not think she would be able to come back and lead our house but she is a miracle, lots of prayers and we could not be happier that she is back because she is not replaceable".

Although it's been more than a year since the crash there is still some healing to do. Ms. Ding still has a handful of surgeries to go through.

The woman who caused the wreck, Leslie Phillips, was charged with Assault. Court records show she pleaded guilty to Reckless Driving and Failure to Control Vehicle Speed to Avoid a Collision.