Officers, trooper recognized for saving driver from burning car

Miami-Dade County mayor, police director praise rescuers for saving man's life

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Four Miami-Dade police officers were honored Friday for saving a man from his burning car.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami-Dade police Director Juan Perez personally thanked the four officers who risked their lives Thursday to help free a driver who was trapped in his car after a crash on the Palmetto Expressway.

"The officers (who) arrived did not hesitate," Perez said. "They moved in quickly and they saved a life."

Perez presented Officers Joseph Vallejos, Yovani Sosa, Gepsy Perez and Edward Brochu with a challenge coin, an honor that only the police director can give.

Also recognized was Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Roberto Ortega, who wasn't able to attend.

"As a former firefighter, I can tell you that they put their lives on the line, without protective gear, (to rescue a man from) a car that was on fire and could have been fully engulfed at any time, so I'm very proud of what they did to save this gentleman's life," Gimenez said.

Luis Carlos Aloma was driving his 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander when it struck a median in the northbound lanes and overturned, catching fire. The officers and trooper were able to pull Aloma out of the car before it burst into flames.

The officers who helped Aloma said they were thankful that they were able to get to him in time.

"As long as we're giving another family an opportunity to be with a loved one, especially during the holidays, is a very satisfying feeling," Perez said. 

Aloma remains at Kendall Regional Medical Center in serious condition. He was cited for careless driving.

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