Police officer pulls suspected drunken driver from fiery crash in Escondido

Crash occurred near Valley Parkway and Broadway

ESCONDIDO, Calif. - Escondido police say an officer risked his own life to rescue a suspected drunken driver from a fiery wreck.

The crash occurred at about 1:30 a.m., when a suspected drunken driver in a gray Nissan Altima ran a red light while northbound on Broadway at West Valley Parkway. It struck a westbound tan Lincoln Navigator, according to Escondido police Lt. Justin Murphy.

Both vehicles came to a stop at the southeast corner of the sidewalk near City Hall, and the Nissan caught fire, Murphy said.

Police say Officer Putulowski arrived on scene within minutes and noticed the driver unconscious inside the burning vehicle. He tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher, but the fire was too large. The officer then went into the burning car and pulled out the driver, who appeared to have sustained head injuries.

The Lincoln's driver was also trapped inside following the crash and had to be cut out using the Jaws of Life, Murphy said. The SUV's passenger was apparently able to get out.

All three people were taken to the hospital with multiple minor injuries, and all are expected to be OK.

Police say the driver of the Nissan was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI charges. His name was not released.

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