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Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent Pulls Man from Burning Car

Release Date: 
August 3, 2021

DETROIT— An off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent saved a man on July 31, after noticing a car fire on the side of the road in Farmington Hills.

Vehicle on fire after pulling man from car wreck
Vehicle on fire after pulling man from car wreck

The incident took place at approximately 10:00 pm Saturday night as off-duty Border Patrol agent (BPA) John Leslie was traveling down Northwestern Highway south of 13 mile and noticed a vehicle fire on the side of the road. Leslie who is also a trained EMT, rushed to the scene to see if anyone was injured. Once on scene two men told him that the driver was trapped inside the vehicle. As the fire began to quickly grow in size Agent Leslie took action. The passenger front door area had been destroyed by the impact with a tree. He was able to crawl into the vehicle to open the rear door to better situate himself to try and extract the driver. Due to the vehicle’s damage BPA Leslie was unable to pull him through the back seat. As the flames and heat increased, Leslie noticed a bowling ball in the backseat and used it in a last-ditch effort to break the driver’s window and get to the driver. After several strikes with the bowling ball, he was able to reach into the car and pry the door open to free the driver. 

“If it weren’t for the bowling ball, I’m not sure how I would have gotten the window smashed to get the guy out,’ said BPA Leslie. “That ball saved his life.”

After prying the door open Agent Leslie, along with a passerby, rapidly extricated the victim from the vehicle mere seconds before a small explosion engulfed the vehicle. He began triage on the man until Farmington Hills Police and Fire arrived on scene and took control of the situation.

“Everyday across America our Border Patrol agents, without regard for their own safety, risk their lives to save others,” said Acting Chief Patrol Agent Robert B. Simon. “I could not be more proud of John and how quickly he jumped in to save this mans life. If he did not react so quickly the outcome would have been very different.”

Last modified: 
August 3, 2021