Off-Duty Fla. Cop Pulls Man From Burning Wreck


A St. Johns County deputy went above and beyond the call of duty early Saturday morning when he pulled a driver from the fiery wreckage of a crash in St. Augustine.

"This man was one or two or three seconds from death, in my opinion," said Deputy Ronnie Lester.

Lester, who has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, said he's never seen anything quite like what he came upon while driving on County Road 208 near Pacetti Road.

"I had just gotten off duty and was heading home and I came upon a traffic crash and small fire. I get out of my car and then we realize someone is in the truck," Lester said.

> Video: Deputy Rescues Driver From Flames

With the help of a few witnesses who stopped to help, Lester's training kicked in.

"We tried to get the man out, his legs are stuck under the dash. We finally get him up into the window, his upper torso is sticking out of the window, we can't get his right foot loose and now the flames are really high and he's on fire," recounted the deputy.

Deputy Ronnie Lester credits his faith for putting him in a position to save a motorist whose pickup truck was on fire.

St. Johns County Fire Rescue arrived to put the flames out and begin medical treatment on the driver, who was taken by helicopter to the burn unit at Shands Medical Center in Gainesville.

The victim's name and condition have not been released.

Lester said a higher power helped the rescuers.

"This is a miracle from God, this has nothing to do with Ronnie Lester. God saved this man's life," he told Channel 4's Steve Douglas.

Even though some are calling Lester a hero, he said he was just doing what he was supposed to do.

"I say we are all called to jobs, some in the ministry, some in the sheriff's office, whatever our job is, that's our gift from God. My gift is to help people. We're not always known for helping, but when we call 911, we're gonna help," Lester said.

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