Photo/Story Gallery 2002
Two Troopers Save Life In Single Car Crash
On Saturday, June 22, 2002, Corporal Steve Ashburn (shown left), Troop H, Tallahassee, and Trooper Jon Leohner (shown right), Troop H, Perry, were working off duty at the Madison County Rest Area when they received a call regarding a serious single vehicle crash on Interstate 10 at the 266-mile post. They immediately responded to the scene to provide assistance.
Upon arrival, Corporal Ashburn and Trooper Leohner observed a small vehicle lying flipped over on its top on the grass shoulder. They saw one of the vehicle’s occupants partially ejected through the driver’s side window. Others were lying on the ground receiving first aid treatment from civilians who had stopped at the crash scene. They also observed flames emitting from the engine compartment area of the vehicle.
Trooper Leohner retrieved his fire extinguisher and began to suppress the engine fire. However, it soon became apparent that the fire could not be completely extinguished because of motor oil leaking into the engine. Trooper Leohner immediately advised Corporal Ashburn to remove the occupant as soon as possible due to the increasing intensity of the fire.
Corporal Ashburn began assisting two civilians who were attempting to remove one of the occupants trapped in the overturned car. As the vehicle continued to burn, Corporal Ashburn entered the car and tried to free the occupant’s leg. Trooper Leohner, still trying to contain the fire, discharged the extinguisher into the engine compartment area. Unfortunately, the chemicals from the fire extinguisher caused Corporal Ashburn to experience respiratory difficulties while attempting to free the occupant’s leg.
Finally, after considerable effort, Corporal Ashburn was successful in freeing the occupant from the wreckage. Madison County EMS personnel transported the five injured people to South Georgia Medical Center.
Corporal Ashburn and Trooper Leohner performed this heroic rescue with complete disregard for their own personal safety, which directly resulted in the saving of a human life. Their brave actions reflect the highest standards of the Florida Highway Patrol.