Powhatan Sheriff: Deputy lied about saving man from burning car

Deputy Harley Crawford
Deputy Harley Crawford

POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - A Powhatan Sheriff's Office deputy lied about pulling a man from a burning car Saturday, the Powhatan Sheriff announced Tuesday.

Deputy Harley Crawford resigned from his position as a sheriff deputy after the investigation revealed he had made inaccurate statements about the heroic rescue.

The car was consumed by flames near Route 60 and Bell Road early Saturday morning. Firefighters managed to arrive on scene within three minutes. However, the fuel line ruptured causing the fire to spread so quickly they would not have been able to work fast enough to save the driver.

The car crashed as it sped across the intersection, then careened into a tree. Flames consumed the vehicle, as the driver's body hung out the window.

"He got up to his head and his shoulders, but it appeared he got stuck or couldn't move, or maybe went unconscious," Crawford told NBC12 at the time. "I was scared I wouldn't be able to get him out. That's the bad feeling, if you can't help somebody, and you're just watching something bad happen."

Crawford is also an 18-year veteran firefighter.

"You don't really have time to think. It's either you do or you don't," he said Sunday.

Crawford told NBC12 he grabbed the fire extinguisher in his car and was able to knock down the flames for a matter of seconds, which was enough time to pull the driver from the burning wreck.

The driver survived and was rushed to the hospital. Deputy Crawford says he's thankful for help of a passerby, Davon Simmons, who watched over the driver after he pulled him to safety.

The Powhatan Sheriff would not elaborate on which part of the story was inaccurate. He will not make any other comments on the issue, saying it is an on-going personnel issue matter.

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