VIDEO: Washington County deputy pulls driver from fiery crash, will receive prestigious award this weekend
A Washington County deputy will receive the prestigious Life-Saving Award from the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association this weekend.
The unbelievable moments, caught on body camera and dash camera video, show Deputy Chris Majeski pulling a semi-truck driver from a fiery crash, saving his life.
The crash happened along I-94 near Manning Avenue in Afton back in June.
According to Minnesota State Patrol, a pick-up truck was driving the wrong way on the highway, headed westbound in the eastbound lanes, around 3:30 am.
Investigators believe a 23-year-old man from Scandia was under the influence of alcohol when he crashed head-on into a Fed-Ex semi-truck.
The wrong-way driver died on the scene.
Majeski got the call while working an overtime shift.
He had been patrolling a golf course with his K-9 about a mile away and rushed to the crash.
When he arrived on scene and quickly assessed the situation, he realized the semi-truck driver was passed out behind the wheel.
He also noticed diesel fuel was pouring out of the truck, creating a situation that could become explosive very quickly.
“So I go, ‘Man, we have probably five seconds to get this guy out of this truck.’ So I’m yelling for his attention. Thankfully, he woke up enough to undo his seatbelt and open his door but then he lost consciousness again,” Majeski explained.
Majeski started to hop the median barrier and pulled the man to safety.
Body camera video shows the driver passing out again as Majeski drags him away from the fiery scene, as the cab of the semi went up in flames.
“I think another five seconds, it would have been a fatal for him as well,” Majeski said.
Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry said he is amazed by the selfless act of courage shown by his deputy, noting the truck could have exploded at any moment.
“It’s bravery. It’s heroism. When we talked to the victim of the truck that he saved, he called Chris his guardian angel,” Starry said. “And I truly think that’s what it was that night.”
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office honored Majeski with its highest award, the Medal of Valor, a few weeks ago.
“We do not give it out very often. It’s a very high threshold,” Starry said. “In my career, almost 31 years, this ranks near the top. No doubt about that. He ran toward the face of danger and ended up saving a life that evening.”
On Sunday, Majeski will receive the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association Life-Saving Award in Alexandria.
“It is a big deal and I guess it hasn’t sunk in yet,” Majeski said.
Majeski suffered a minor burn on his right hand during the rescue.
He said he does not consider himself a hero and would make the same decision, to rush toward the flames, again.
“We just do what we need to do,” Majeski said. “I was just in the right place at the right time, having the right instincts to do the right thing quickly.”