(NewsNation) — After a car collided with a tanker truck in Connecticut, multiple bystanders, including off-duty City of New London Lt. Cornelius Rodgers, ran toward the blaze to save a man from the wreckage.
“When I took this oath to be a police officer, it’s for 24 hours a day,” Rodgers said.
Police say a car blew out a tire on a highway bridge before colliding with a tanker truck last Friday. The tanker flipped, killing the driver inside. A man pulled from the car is still recovering.
Rodgers was heading home from the gym when he saw the scene.
“I just saw this dark smoke, flames, coming from the side of the bridge,” he recalled. “I saw a gentleman running to the car with his cellphone. So that gave me a cue that someone else might be trapped in the car.”
When he arrived, Rodgers said he immediately jumped in to help.
“I decided to run to the other side of the car and try to open the door. Due to the damage to the car, I wasn’t able to do that” he said. “So I ran back to the other side where the gentleman was unconscious and his leg was trapped inside the car.”
The tanker truck driver, Wally Fauquet, died, and two others were injured.
He added: “God put me in that situation. I’m usually across that bridge earlier, but for some reason, I was delayed. So I believe you should be a good person 24 hours a day, not when you just put on the uniform.”
A GoFundMe account was set up to help Fauquet’s family. Rodgers said he found out that he had mutual friends with him.
“He was a hero to his family. I was able, with other citizens, to save someone. But if I can do something that brings attention to him in this tragic moment, it would mean the world to me,” Rodgers said.