BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Broward Sheriff's Office reserve deputy is being hailed a hero after he saved the life of a motorcyclist who had just lost a leg in a crash.
The crash happened Aug. 31 on McNab Road and 80 Street.
Andrew Harris, a student at Broward College, was on the bike heading home from work when his life changed forever.
"A 72-year-old man pulled out in front of me and I had to try and swerve, and he ran into me. (He) never saw me," Harris said. "He hit me and I flew off the bike. I was told I hit my leg on a bus bench on the sidewalk and it severed my left leg and two toes on my right foot."
Harris was bleeding out while onlookers tried to help. One person tried using a belt for a tourniquet, but nothing worked until Deputy Richard Griffin arrived.
"I just remember seeing this big burly arm next to me and like a police badge, and I was like, man, help is finally here," Harris said.
The long-time BSO deputy retired but later joined the reserves in 2011. Griffin just happened to be less than a block away from the crash when the dispatch call went out.
"He was lying on his back in a large pool of blood and someone had wrapped the belt around his leg," Griffin said. "I split his pant leg, determined there was no other injury that I could treat and found the artery and pinched his femoral artery off until EMS came."
"He held it there with his hands until the EMT arrived," Harris said. "If not for that I would've bled out on scene."
Harris was airlifted to a hospital, where he underwent six blood transfusions and six surgeries over the course of more than two months. Now more than three months since the crash, he is continuing with school and getting his life back on track -- something he says he couldn't have done without Griffin.
"He saved his life and I'm eternally grateful," Harris' mother, Krissy, said.
"This man who happened to know exactly what to do to save someone in a situation like that. The fact that he was right there on the scene at that corner as it happened, like it's nothing short of a miracle," Harris said.
"It's almost humbling to realize that you were able to accomplish something like that and to realize that he is going to be all right and he's going to have a successful life. It's a nice feeling," Griffin said.
Griffin joined the BSO in 1982 and retired as a lieutenant.
Harris, who rode his motorcycle for two years before the crash, plans to go to Florida Atlantic University next year to major in mechanical engineering. He hopes to one day design prostheses.
Harris' insurance will not cover his own leg prosthesis, which can cost thousands of dollars.
Click here to donate to a fund to help Harris pay for his leg prosthesis.