HICKMAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Four Hickman County deputies are being hailed heroes this evening after pulling a trapped man from a burning van.
One of the hero deputies says God was watching over the victim Monday, and he admits that it’s strangely ironic that because of the Coronavirus, deputies who wouldn’t normally be on the road were able to help extricate the man.
Because of COVID-19, schools are shut down. Because schools are shut down, the SRO’s who normally work in the schools are all out on the roads.
One of those Hickman County deputies was an Isaiah Roberson, a 12-year veteran who normally serves as an SRO at East Intermediate School in Hickman County.
It happened Monday afternoon, around 1:45 p.m. on Highway 100 when a car and a CoreCivic prison van crashed head-on.
The driver of the car was injured but alive. Two of the passengers in the van got out safely.
But a third passenger, a prison guard was trapped inside the van that was on its side and burning when help began to arrive.
Deputy Roberson says it went out as a serious wreck with injuries when he began to respond.
“It was a priority call,” he says.
When Roberson arrived, one of four Hickman County Deputies who all arrived simultaneously, the van filled with flames and smoke.
Bodycam shows Roberson and other officers banging on the glass trying to free the man trapped in the heavily fortified van.
Roberson says, “You don’t think you just act. It was a terrible situation we were giving it all we had. He was trapped in the vehicle and getting burnt actively. You don’t think you act to get that man out of the vehicle.”
Roberson and another deputy were on the road that afternoon because their normal role as SRO’s has been canceled due to the Coronavirus.
A third deputy was also on the scene because of the Coronavirus. Officials say he was scheduled for a class, but that was canceled because of COVID-19. So he, too, was working the roads.
Bodycam shows Roberson and the other deputies getting the man out of the van and dragging him to safety. As they do, the van filled with even more flames.
Roberson tells News 2 it was like the victim had a guardian angel looking out for him.
“I am a believer. God was with him that day.”
News 2 asked the 33-year-old lawman about precautions being used for COVID-19, including masks, gloves, and social distancing.
The deputy says with a sly smile, “No. He was burning alive in the vehicle. There was no option but to get that man out.”
When questioned about the irony of being in the right place at the right time due to Coronavirus, Roberson said this, “It’s a blessing. it’s a blessing. He works in mysterious ways.”
Sgt. Mike Doddo also credits the irony of the coronavirus putting more deputies in the right place at the right time.
He says first responders put other’s lives ahead of their own on a regular basis.
Doddo says, “You have that all over the country. You got first responders rushing toward death, looking death right in the eye. I don’t think Corona Virus even crossed their minds. They were thinking about saving a man’s life.”
The injured man survived with minor burns, a crushed pelvis, a broken leg, and internal injuries. The four deputies will get letters of commendation from the Sheriff’s Department for going above and beyond the call of duty.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.