Man helps Bertie County deputy out of car before it caught on fire in NYE crash
“...I knew I couldn’t let the fear take over my actions. I knew my actions was more important than what I was feeling at the time.”
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A Bertie County deputy who was hospitalized after a crash on New Year’s Eve was pulled out from the car moments before it caught on fire.
Dajour Keemer, 22, of Elizabeth City was on his way to visit his parents in Lewiston Woodville, his hometown, when he and two others spotted a cruiser responding to a call before it appeared to lose control and crash into a tree.
“All of a sudden, he just veered off to the right,” Keemer said. “It looked like as if he parked the car fast or something, cause we were still further back.”
When Keemer; his girlfriend, Akyia Stephenson and his cousin, Rashid Lee, got closer, Keemer said they saw smoke coming from the car that crashed into the tree.
Stephenson pulled over and the three got out to help the deputy.
“The lights on the car were out because when he hit the tree it busted the radiator, killed the battery, everything,” Keemer said. “If it wasn’t for us seeing it - we probably wouldn’t have noticed him.”
Keemer said the deputy shouted for help and they ran to find him unable to get out of the car.
“He tried to pull himself up, that’s when he noticed that he had broken bones,” Keemer said. “So he couldn’t move, so he told me to [grab him] and I pulled him out and we fell into the ditch. And as soon as we touched the ground, that’s when the car burst into flames.”
Keemer said they moved him back further to safety while Stephenson was on the phone with dispatch the whole time. Stephenson said it took about 10 minutes for an ambulance to come while bullets that caught on fire popped.
“In that moment, my first thought was ‘I can’t let this man die in front of me,’” Keemer said. “We’re here now... we just got to take action.”
The deputy is in the hospital and Bertie County Sheriff John Holley said the weather played a factor in the crash.
The name of the deputy has not been released but Keemer said the deputy’s family and Bertie County Sheriff’s Office has reached out to him to thank him.
“I had a lot of fear in my heart [when it happened],” Keemer said. “At the same time, I knew I couldn’t let the fear take over my actions. I knew my actions was more important than what I was feeling at the time so I was afraid definitely, but I just knew it was important to make a move now because I knew a fire was about to break out.”
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