PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Tuesday evening, in a driving rain storm, two cars collided at State Road 52 and Hays Road in Pasco County.
The accident appeared relatively minor when Pasco County Sheriff’s Deputies Andrey Damian and Peter Knorr arrived on the scene wearing their body cameras.
Video from those cameras shows Deputy Knorr and Deputy Damian walk over to the crash and find a woman who appears to be trapped in one of the cars, her legs pinned under the dashboard.
“She’s in a lot of pain,” a witness tells the deputies.
Seconds later, the scene nearly becomes fatal for the sheriff’s deputies, the witness and the victim of the first accident when a truck at the intersection slams into another vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. The truck is sent spinning out of control before it crashes into a vehicle involved in the first accident, pushing the vehicle into the woman and the deputies.
Deputy Damian says it happened so quickly, no one had time to get out of the way, including Deputy Knorr.
“Our attention was on the female that was hurt from the first accident. One thing both of us heard was a car horn from one of the trucks. As soon as I put my head up, I knew they weren’t going to make it,” said Deputy Damien. “Peter actually flew backward, I don’t know, six feet probably and the black car went towards me, towards my feet, but I was fine.”
Deputy Knorr quickly got back up on his feet and continued to serve and made sure another person involved in the crash received care, according to the sheriff’s office.
Both deputies and the woman were later hospitalized for minor injuries.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco says he’s thankful no one was more seriously injured, but the accident serves as an example of why people need to slow down near accident scenes.
“Everybody, all they want they want to do is just stare at the crash. They just want to see it and just stare at it. Where unfortunately in this situation, somebody was just bulldozing through, really not paying attention,” said Nocco. “We’re very fortunate that everybody will be okay, but it’s a good teaching moment to tell people to slow down.”
According to Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, it was Damian’s second day on the job. Damian said he was fine after the crash. His colleague, Deputy Knorr is at home resting, according to the sheriff’s office.
Amanda Helmick is the woman who was hit with the deputies. She was one of the first motorists on scene and was working to help a woman pinned in her car when the second wreck happened.
“I have a whole bunch of road rash and bruises on my arm where I fell on it and like I say, my face is pretty messed up here,” Helmick said.
“And it just came at me like you wouldn’t imagine and the cop was there too, and you could hear the terror in his voice on his body cam,” she said of the moment she heard the truck heading towards her.
A number of people have taken to social media, beating Helmick up for what she did and accusing her of not really being out there to help.
“And I’m like, ‘are you kidding me right now?’ Dramatic? I just ran in to try and save somebody’s life and got him by a car,” she said. “By a pickup truck! It’s not being dramatic. It’s being real.”
“We cringe when we see this video because we know how bad it could’ve been,” said Sheriff Nocco.
It’s unclear if any charges have been filed against the driver. Sheriff Nocco said that’s up to the Florida Highway Patrol.
“This is an example of the dangers that our men and women face every day they put on the uniform,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook. “We urge you to slow down, especially on wet roads and near traffic crashes. We are thankful the injuries to our members were not serious. We are also thankful for our citizens who stepped in to help their fellow citizens.”
The Florida Highway Patrol is now investigating the crash.
WARNING, the video below contains strong language.
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