MESQUITE, Texas - Dashcam video captured police officers and citizens rushing to rescue a woman after she crashed along Highway 80 in Mesquite.
The accident happened earlier this month, but the video was just recently released.
It shows officers arriving at the scene a near Big Town Boulevard. They follow other drivers who have jumped over the median to help the woman.
Minutes later, the car catches fire and firefighters are called to put out the flames.
Police said the woman, Claudia Ortega, fell asleep at the wheel. She is still recovering from her injuries and says she’s grateful for those who helped rescue her.
“I told the young man to help me because I'm burning,” said Ortega. “He said, ‘The ambulance is coming.’ And I said, ‘You help me!’ And he grabbed me and pulled me out...”
Chad Jeffrey, a DART maintenance worker, snapped pictures of Ortega’s car after she was safe.
He was first to run up, extinguish some flames and pry her door open.
"We really weren't aware of the fire in the firewall yet, and we were just basically trying to get her out,” said Jeffrey. "She started screaming. We didn't understand what she was saying; she didn’t speak English. Fortunately, there was a Hispanic guy there. He said that, ‘Her feet are burning.’”
Garland Officer Michael Mallison was driving to court that morning. His dashcamera recorded the intensity, including the flames that burst from the vehicle less than two minutes after Ortega was out of it.
"Just fortunate to see the citizens, how many were just so willing to help...so many people ran up there to help,” said Mallison. “I believe God put us there at the right time at the right place."
Ortega says she didn’t suffer from any medical condition that would have caused the accident, but she was fatigued after working an overnight shift at her job at a Carrollton factory.