Three U.S. Border Patrol agents who are credited with saving a man trapped in the wreckage of a burning car have been nominated for prestigious awards for their heroic actions last April, the USBP said.
The agents, identified by USBP as F. Gonzales, K. Carrol, and S. Roe for the safety of their officers, were driving home on Interstate 15 just after midnight on April 26 when they witnessed a two-car crash on the opposite side of the interstate near I-8.
One of the cars slammed into the center divider and burst into flames. The agents immediately pulled over to help.
While one agent called 911, the remaining two and a bystander worked together to free the trapped passengers. The agents broke one of the car's windows and reached through flames to get to the man in the passenger's seat. Together, they pulled the man to safety.
Unfortunately, agents were unable to save the driver.
Agent Carrol, who was trained as an emergency medical technician, treated the passenger before an ambulance arrived. Meanwhile, Agent Roe tended to the occupants of the second vehicle.
Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke credits the actions of the off-duty agents for saving the man's life.
"If not for the quick action of these three agents, another life would have almost certainly been lost in this tragic accident," he said.
To honor their efforts, agents Gonzalez and Carrol were nominated for the Newton-Azrak Award, USBP's highest honor. Agent Roe was nominated for the U.S. Border Patrol Commendation Award.
Eligibility for the Newton-Azrak Award is measured on four criteria, including exercising unusual courage or bravery in the line of duty and/or a heroic or humane act during times of extreme stress or in an emergency.
The award was named after two agents who were killed by drug smugglers in 1967. Their bodies were found near Anza, California and led to a statewide manhunt that led to the arrest and prosecution of four people, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Their deaths brought heightened awareness to the needs of the Border Patrol and led to safety adaptations within the agency.