Most of us would call Officer Garry Brown a hero. But the Ashland City cop who pulled a man from a burning truck says he was just doing his job.
It all went down Friday afternoon on Highway 49 near Golf Club Lane.
It’s here that the THP says a pick-up truck crosses the center line, clips a cop car, and then smashes into a flatbed truck head-on.
That chain reaction all began when the pick up hit Brown, the officer just a little shy of two years on the force.
“Once the impact happened, it was game on for me to get him out,” Officer Gerry Brown told News 2’s Andy Cordan.
The officer’s dash cam shows the beginning of the violent chain reaction.
Officer Brown is traveling south on Highway 49. Suddenly, a Ford F-150, traveling northbound, crosses the center lane.
Brown says he saw the truck and moved to the right. In that second the truck strikes the rear of the cop car, causing minor damage.
The impact forces the officer to skid off the road onto a lawn in front of a house. Thankfully, the 43-year-old officer was unhurt.
“I feel blessed,” Brown said. “Someone above me was praying for me on that particular day.”
Moments later, Brown’s body camera shows him running toward the chaos caused by the pickup truck, which has rolled down the hill and is beginning to catch on fire.
“I saw the fire in the truck, noticed the fire coming out of the engine compartment,” Garry explained.
On his body camera, you can hear the chaos that ensues as Garry Brown gives commands to those on the scene.
“Get back from the vehicle. Is anyone inside?” He yells at two men who approach the burning pick up truck attempting to rescue the F-150 driver unconscious inside.
Brown, a former sergeant in the Army, serving over 20 years and eight tours of duty, says his instincts and training kick in.
Brown first tries to smash the glass with his baton. He bangs it repeatedly. The glass shatters but doesn’t break.
“Can you unlock your door?” Brown is heard yelling on camera.
When the driver manages to unlock the door, Brown begins unfastening the man’s seatbelt.
“I gotta get you out, the truck’s on fire,” he says.
Brown puts the semi-conscious driver on his shoulders and carries him away from the truck.
By this time, motorists who have stopped quickly help the tired officer who is dragging the man away from the truck that is now burning.
“Try and get him up on the hill for me,” he says on camera.
“The only thing I was worried about was that fire,” Brown told News 2. “I didn’t know how big an explosion was going to take place. I was worried about saving lives in the event that vehicle did explode.”
Ashland City Police Chief Kenny Ray told News 2 his officer is a hero.
“I’m proud of him — for his military service and what he does for us,” Ray said. “What he did is what every officer does every day in this country. He is doing what he is supposed to do and trained to do. Run toward trouble.”
According to the chief, this is Officer Brown’s second life saved in his short time on the Ashland City Police force.
No one suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash, which remains under investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. No charges have been filed.
Chief Ray told News 2 the man driving the pick-up truck has called to say thank you to Officer Brown for getting him to safety.