KENNEWICK, WA— A Benton County deputy's body cam video captured the rescue of an unconscious man in a burning car this week.
Corporal JP Benitez was driving in the area of Ely Street and Clearwater Avenue shortly before 9 a.m. Monday when he spotted a plume of smoke coming up from the Rite Aid Pharmacy parking lot.
The deputy called emergency dispatchers and stopped in the parking lot. The video starts moments later with Benitez running across the parking lot.
Flames are visible from the engine as he runs up to the passenger side of the SUV and sees someone inside. Then he runs around the back side of the car, and slaps the side yelling, "Come on, buddy," then, "Hey! Hey!" and finally, "Get out of the car."
The driver was unconscious, so Benitez grabs him by his jacket and tries to pull on him out of the vehicle. As he's pulling, flames flare up, forcing the deputy back.
Benitez rushes back in and grabs the man by the hood of his jacket and pulls him free. He drags him for several feet before what appears to be a passerby grabs the man's shoulders and Benitez lifts the man's feet.
While it's not in the video, Benitez stayed with the man and began to render life saving measures to save him, Kennewick police said in a release.
Investigators believe the man was high when he got behind the wheel of the silver SUV. Police say he overdosed as he was driving and crashed into the front of a pickup with a camper in the lot.
The SUV's engine compartment caught fire. While the flames didn't reach the passenger compartment, the heat was enough to scorch the man's beard, Fire Chief Chad Michael said earlier this week.
Emergency crews revived the man.
And a man in the camper was able to escape the flames unharmed.
Firefighters were able to douse the flames shortly after they arrived.
After the SUV's driver was brought to a local hospital, he was booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of two counts of reckless endangerment and DUI.
While Kennewick police didn't release the man's name, jail records show Brandon J. Law, 31, was booked at 11 a.m. Monday for the same charges.
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