The Nebraska State Patrol credits witnesses with saving a Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s deputy from his burning cruiser after he suffered a medical incident and crashed about 7:20 Monday morning on Hwy 71 near Scottsbluff.
State Patrol spokesman Cody Thomas says 39-year old Josh Ruzicka of Gering was northbound when he suffered the unspecified medical incident. His vehicle left the pavement, hit an embankment, and caught fire.
It came to rest north of the North Platte River bridge on the east side of the highway, up against trees not far from several ponds.
Thomas says several witnesses saw the accident and rushed to assist. Ruzicka was unconscious, but they were able to get him out of the cruiser and pull him to safety – away from the vehicle and fire.
Emergency personnel arrived a short time later and took over from the witnesses. Ruzicka was taken to Regional West Medical Center where Thomas says he is alert and in good condition with undisclosed injuries.
Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman says his entire agency is very grateful for the quick actions by the witnesses in getting Ruzicka out of the cruiser.
Sheriff Overman also thanks the Scottsbluff Police and Fire Departments, Scotts Bluff Rural Fire, and Valley Ambulance for their assistance.”