ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A detective with the Rowan Sheriff’s Office and a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper are credited with helping an elderly woman to get safely out of her burning car just minutes before it was engulfed in flames.
Rowan Sheriff Kevin Auten said that Detective Josh Simmons was investigating an unrelated case and was driving to Winston-Salem to interview someone at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
While driving on Highway 52 near exit 92 in Davidson County, Simmons noticed a car on the opposite of the road that was on fire. Simmons parked his car, then crossed the highway and the cable barrier median to go to the burning car.
“Noticed the smoke coming from the front of it, you could see flames, the glow of the fire underneath the car,” Simmons said. “Then I saw someone sitting in the driver’s seat.”
Trooper Justin Stone with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol arrived at the scene within minutes. Stone had been in the area working traffic enforcement, according to the Highway Patrol.
The elderly driver of the car was not able to get out, telling Simmons that she was not able to open the door. Simmons got the woman out of the car just before the car was fully engulfed.
“As I was getting closer, you could see the fire getting more intense,” Simmons added.
Trooper Stone arrived and made sure Simmons and the driver moved back away from the car as the flames spread.
“I got her and the detective to come back to my car,” said Trooper Stone. “As I got them back to my patrol car, the car began to be engulfed in flames and eventually started to blow up.”
The woman was not injured. Family members arrived and took the woman to her destination.
On Wednesday, with everyone safe, there was time for reflection on the quick actions that likely saved a life.
“I’m just glad everybody was safe, nobody got hurt,” Trooper Stone said.
“The way I was raised, you take care of people. I didn’t know who was in the car, it didn’t matter who they were…they needed help,” Simmons said. “That’s what I singed up to was to help anybody, it’s really just an instinct thing.”
Josh Simmons has been with the Rowan Sheriff’s Office since July, 2015.