TOPPENISH, Wash. - Yakima County Deputies are sharing an act of heroism that happened on Wednesday morning.
Deputies say Deputy Swale was driving northbound in the 6300 block of Highway 97, just before Toppenish when he noticed an older Chevy pickup that had collided with a center barrier. They say the truck was still in the center of the road partially blocking the inside lane.
Deputy Swale noticed there was still someone inside the truck. As he approached the truck, he noticed smoke and flames starting underneath. Deputy Swale opened the door and tried getting the driver out but the driver became distressed, grabbed the steering wheel and refused to let go. Deputy Swale tried pulling him out several times.
Because the vehicle was against the barrier, Deputy Swale realized the only way to get the driver out was through the passenger door. Flames began to grow as Deputy Swale pleaded with the driver to let go of the wheel. The man loosened his grip and that's when Deputy Swale grabbed him and pulled him from the truck just before it became completely engulfed in flames.
The driver, who has been identified as 48-year-old Matthew Dick from Wapato, was taken to Toppenish Community Hospital where it was discovered that he had experienced a seizure that may have caused the accident.
Deputy Swale was checked by medical units and was treated for smoke inhalation and minor cuts but no serious injuries.