SYLACAUGA, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE: The Sylacauga police chief confirmed that Officer McGhee has undergone several surgeries. According to the chief, McGhee is progressing smoothly.
Doctors have repaired his femur, pelvis, ankle and bladder.
A Sylacauga police officer was pulled from a burning car on Thursday night by a Talladega sheriff’s deputy with the help of a few good Samaritans. The crash involved a logging truck on Highway 21. Deputy Chris Rogers talked about terrifying ordeal.
“It was terrible. It was really terrible," says Rogers.
Almost 48 hours later, you could still smell the charred remains of the SUV.
Officer Blake McGhee and Deputy Chris Rogers were driving home from a fundraiser in Talladega. Rogers says it all happened suddenly.
“I saw him veer off the road, I saw his tail lights go off and then I just saw fire and then I saw fire go through the logs. I didn’t see any lights on the truck, I never saw the truck either until the fire went through the logs.”
The driver of the logging truck later said he was swinging wide to make a right turn onto Grist Mill Road. McGhee’s SUV and the tail end of the truck collided.
“I just started screaming oh no, no, no, no, no, no!” Said Rogers.
Rogers and McGhee both served on the Talladega County Drug Task Force together. The two, like brothers, are thick as thieves.
“We’re just a lot alike. I thought I lost my best friend,” Rogers continued.
So seeing his friend in a car, now on fire, was a very sobering sight.
Rogers pulled up next to McGhee’s SUV. By then then the car, the logs and the ground were on fire. At that point, he says, adrenaline kicked in.
“I jumped in, crawled in, and I started snatching on him. I finally got a hold of his belt and I started snatching on his belt. I finally worked him out from under the steering wheel and got him in between the seats. I started screaming for help, I said y’all help, please help.”
Three other drivers stopped to help. One of them, a marine veteran, just happened to have a device that breaks car windows—a recent gift from a relative. They pulled McGhee, who was unconscious, through the back-passenger window and over to the grass. When he came to, they tried to keep him conscious until first responders got there.
“But we really wanted to give thanks to the passersby who stopped to help. One of them actually crawled into the burning vehicle with me to get him out,” Rogers said.
A terrifying experience that could have turned out very differently.
“His granddad told him a long time ago, never to tell anybody goodbye, because that means goodbye. He said always ‘see you later’. So, we’re glad he didn’t tell us goodbye,” continued Rogers.
McGhee suffered a broken femur, broken pelvis, and either a bruised or ruptured bladder. Despite all of this, they say he’s in good spirits and cracking jokes with hospital staff.