• This eyewitness photo shows firefighters attacking a vehicle fire after an intoxicated driver crashed.  Sgt. Tom Catron ensured the occupant survived the fire. Burleson Star/Courtesy Sherry Trujillo

'Man lived because of sergeant's actions'

Sgt. Catron was quick to act upon seeing car ablaze; Resident followed intoxicated driver from downtown Fort Worth

A Burleson resident bent on preventing loss of life and a Burleson police officer determined to save one are both being heralded for their actions.

Kevin Terry, a former Johnson County Sheriff's Office patrol and transport deputy, was returning from a family outing in Fort Worth in the early morning of Aug. 23 when he was nearly sideswiped by an intoxicated driver near downtown.

"I didn't call 911 for another mile or two, until he almost sideswiped another car," Terry said. "He was back and forth in his lane [on Interstate 35S] and against the wall and close to other cars."

He placed a call to 911 in Fort Worth. A police unit was unable to respond, so Terry asked to be transferred to Burleson, once the intoxicated driver passed Sycamore School Road.

"He tried to get off at Renfro and nearly wiped out," Terry said. "Then he was up to almost 80 mph at the Briaroaks exit."

Meanwhile, Terry was communicating with Burleson emergency dispatch, and Sgt. Tom Catron responded to the call.

"The car dove left and nearly hit a concrete wall, then went to the right shoulder," Terry said. "He hit the guardrail there and the car went airborne."

It landed nose down and caught fire.

Terry was prepared to help the motorist, and looked up to see Catron behind him. Then in front of him.

"Before I could get out of the car, the officer was already at the fire," Terry said.

Catron immediately broke the car window, yelled out to determine if any one else was in the vehicle and asked the occupant if he could free himself to get out, Police Chief Billy Cordell said.

"He got the driver out of the car," Cordell said. "What he did reflected well upon himself and positively upon our department."

The fire quickly developed following the crash, Cordell said.

"Sgt. Catron was in position to get him out of the fire," Cordell said. "If he hadn't been, I'm not sure he would be alive today. This driver lived because of Sgt. Catron's actions."

The driver was charged with DWI, Cordell said. Terry is deserving of credit for caring enough to begin an emergency call in Fort Worth and complete it in Burleson. The exit to his home off Interstate 35W is Alsbury Boulevard, about three miles north of where the call terminated.

"I would have to say kudos to this resident for not giving up on the call," Cordell said. "He put us in the position to save this person's life. We can't predict what the outcome would have been had all of this not have unfolded just as it did."

Burleson Star

327 N.W. Renfro St.
PO Box 909
Burleson, TX 76028-0909

Phone: 817-295-0486
FAX: 817-295-5278

 

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This eyewitness photo shows firefighters attacking a vehicle fire after an intoxicated driver crashed.  Sgt. Tom Catron ensured the occupant survived the fire. Burleson Star/Courtesy Sherry Trujillo