County deputy pulls victim from blazing vehicle on Lower Fayetteville Road

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Dash cam video from his patrol car shows Coweta Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Ross racing to a burning vehicle where he discovered the driver was unable to free herself and endangered by flames.

By ALEX McRAE alex@newnan.com Coweta County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jason Ross, who pulled a female accident victim from a blazing vehicle Saturday, is being praised by supervisors and Coweta Sheriff Mike Yeager, who said Ross will be nominated for statewide honors given to law enforcement officers who show extraordinary courage and valor in the line of duty. "When he heard the call, Deputy Ross did his duty," Yeager said. "But in this case he went above and beyond and risked his life to help someone in trouble. We think he deserves to be recognized for his work."
The incident began around 9:30 p.m. Saturday. On dash cam audio and video from Ross' patrol car, a call is heard from a sheriff's dispatcher saying an accident had occurred on Lower Fayetteville Road near Delta Court. Ross is just leaving the Eastside Precinct on Literary Lane when the call comes in. Video shows Ross' car accelerating rapidly to Lower Fayetteville Road, turning left and driving quickly to the scene. Ross would later learn the accident was a head-on collision between a Chevy Avalanche driven by Donald Allen Barber of Sharpsburg and a Dodge Durango driven by Trishica Leatrice Evans of Newnan. Krashina Rae McMillan, of Newnan, was a passenger in Evans' vehicle. It is not hard to spot the problem. The dash cam video shows Evans' Dodge Durango sitting partially across Lower Fayetteville Road with its front end enveloped by a huge ball of flames. The Avalanche is obscured by Evans' vehicle. As soon as he reaches the scene, Ross gets on the radio, reports the fire, says he is grabbing the fire extinguisher from his patrol car and is seen running from his patrol car to the burning Durango. Soon, Ross is heard on the radio saying he can see an occupant in the Durango's driver's seat, and that flames are coming into the vehicle's passenger cabin. Over Ross' radio, Evans can be heard crying out in pain as Ross starts fighting the fire with the extinguisher. Moments later, Ross reports that Evans is unable to free herself and that his fire extinguisher is used up. "My extinguisher's exhausted but the fire's still going," Ross says. At that point, Ross speaks to a passerby who saw the wreck and stopped to offer assistance. Evans can still be heard on the radio crying for help as the flames in the passenger cabin draw closer. Ross can be heard saying to Evans, "Can you breathe? Try to breathe." After failing to free Evans from the driver's side of the vehicle, Ross goes to the passenger side of the vehicle, assesses the situation and says to the unknown passerby, "Let's try to get her out." Ross then climbs inside the vehicle, receiving burns to his face and arms. While trying to free Evans, Ross talks her through the situation, saying, "We're trying to get you out, hon." With the aid of the passerby, Ross manages to pull Evans from the burning vehicle and onto the grass road shoulder. Ross announces he needs to pull Evans farther from the burning vehicle and closer to the safety of his patrol car. Evans is clearly in great pain, but Ross is heard on the radio trying to soothe her, saying, "Where are you hurtin' at, hon? All over?" The Coweta County Fire Department and EMS teams then arrive, along with Georgia State Patrol troopers. Ross guides EMS workers to Evans as other EMS workers treat the two other accident victims and CCFD firefighters begin extinguishing the vehicle fire. Ross recognizes the efforts of the good Samaritan who helped out, saying, "Good job, man. Thank you." As other officials come by, Ross points out the passerby again and tells everyone, "That guy there is a helluva good guy." Once other responders are on the scene, Ross conveys needed information to those present and resumes his duties. Evans and Barber were both taken by air ambulance to Atlanta hospitals. McMillan was taken from the scene by ground ambulance. Yeager says he's most impressed by Ross' demeanor as he dealt with the life-threatening situation. "You can hear on the dash cam that he stays calm, cool and collected the whole time," Yeager says. "There was a lot going on, but he stayed in command of the situation and got the job done. He took control of the situation and was very reassuring to the victim. His quick action saved that lady from burning for sure. We're really proud of him." Yeager has received a letter of commendation from Ross' superiors, Lt. Russell McCollum and Sgt. Justin Thompson. The letter says, in part: "Deputy Ross' quick response and immediate action saved a life. He made a brave decision to enter a burning vehicle and went well above his job expectations." The letter also requested that Ross receive a day off with pay for his actions. Yeager granted that request, saying, "I think he earned it." Yeager says he plans to nominate Ross for several statewide awards that will be presented next year. One award is presented annually by the Georgia Sheriff's Association. The award recognizes a deputy each year for an act of heroism or valor. That award will be presented next summer. Yeager will also nominate Ross for an award given by the Peace Officers Association of Georgia, which recognizes a law enforcement officer each year for an act of valor. That award will be presented next fall. Ross will also be nominated for an award given by the governor's office that recognizes acts of valor by public safety officials. "He took very swift action and saved a life and we're very proud he's one of us," Yeager said.


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