ELMA, NY - The quick response of an off duty Erie County Sheriff's Deputy, who just happened to be driving into work, helped two elderly people from East Aurora survive a nasty crash Tuesday night. 2 On Your Side spoke with that deputy who was also quick to credit others as well for this rescue.
Take the saying right place at the right time and add the "right people" to save lives. That's exactly what happened Tuesday night in the Town of Elma as the deputy jumped right into action with the help of a volunteer firefighter.
Deputy Brian Pauly, who has been on the job for just under a year, is characteristically modest about his accomplishment. But his instinct and training kicked in Tuesday as he was driving into work and came upon the crash of an SUV which state police say ran a stop sign at the intersection of Clinton and Bowen. It was then struck by another vehicle.
Two dazed elderly people were strapped in the front seats and could not get out of the SUV which rolled onto its side from the impact. That's when Pauly and the firefighter worked together to get them out. He described the situation this way "As we approached somebody started screaming the vehicle was on fire. So we started to expedite a little bit. I climbed on top the vehicle and looked in the window to try to assess what was goin on.
Fortunately also on scene was an out of area volunteer firefighter who happened to have a tool on him that we were able to use to shatter the window. Once we were able to get the window broken I was able to get inside. And the first thing I was able to do was get the driver, who was airborne...the driver side up and get him free. Got his seat belt off. We were able to get him out."
They were also able to reach the elderly woman in the passenger seat as well by forcing open the back hatch of the vehicle. Police say those two people in the SUV were not seriously hurt.
Some teenagers in the other car who are players for a girl's high school hockey club were not hurt.
People in a nearby restaurant also pitched in with a fire extinquisher to control the vehicle flames just before state police and firefighters arrived.
The accident is under investigation by the state police.