Deputy, passerby save man from burning car on I-95

Robert Smith reunited with men who dragged him out of car after crash

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – A man who was saved from a burning car last week got the chance Wednesday to thank the Broward Sheriff's Office sergeant and a good Samaritan who came to his rescue.

Sgt. Steven Handras was driving north on Interstate 95 near Sample Road last Tuesday when he saw a car crash into a wall. Handras stopped to help the driver, who was trapped inside the smoking car.

"I could see enough through the smoke, into the car, to see that he was in the car unconscious," Handras said. "I could hear the car revving really, really loud. I figured his foot was on the gas pedal." 

Body camera footage shows the rescue. 

Handras and another passerby, Pedro Ruiz, dragged Robert Smith out of the burning car, moments before it became fully engulfed in flames.

"The smoke was overpowering," Handras said. "The whole time I am praying that the whole car doesn't blow up and kill all three of us," 

Smith's shirt and arm were on fire, but Handras and Ruiz put out the flames.

"I'm just so grateful in how heroic they were," Smith said. "I would just like to think I would do the same thing if put in the same situation." 

About the Authors: