Trooper, cadet save burning van's driver

March 12, 2009|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,

An Anne Arundel County woman owes her life to a Maryland State Police corporal and cadet who pulled her from a burning minivan this morning, moments before it was engulfed in flames.

About 6:30 a.m., a Hyundai minivan driven by Melody Grimm, 57, of Crofton went off the road at U.S. 301 near Leeland Drive in Prince George's County, state police said. An off-duty corrections officer saw the accident and stopped at the Upper Marlboro Scale House, where Cpl. John P. Griffin and Cadet Andrew Neall were on duty checking trucks for safety violations.

Griffin and Neall immediately drove out and found the minivan, which had flames shooting several feet above it. The engine compartment was on fire, and flames were spreading beneath the van, police said.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's editions misstated the day a state trooper and cadet saved a motorist. The rescue happened Wednesday.
The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

Neall tried the driver's door, but it was locked. Griffin broke a window of the smoke-filled car and got the unconscious driver out the door.

"At that time, the fire is all around my legs and feet," said Griffin, a state police corporal for 10 years and a volunteer firefighter in Queen Anne's County.

The two had carried the woman no more than 15 feet away when they felt an intense rush of hot air as the rest of the car erupted in flames.

Prince George's fire and EMS units arrived and treated the woman, who became alert and later refused further medical attention. She could not be reached for comment.

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