Joe L. Serrano helped to save Lyndelle H. Watkins from burning, Tucson, Arizona, May 16, 2015. Watkins, 69, was the driver of a pickup truck that was struck head on by another pickup. Both vehicles left the roadway, came to rest on the shoulder only a few feet apart, and broke into flames in their engine areas. Severely injured and unconscious, Watkins remained in her driver’s seat, trapped in the wreckage. On duty, Serrano, 36, deputy sheriff, responded to the scene. Entering the space between the burning vehicles, he joined another deputy who had responded and tried to open the driver’s door of Watkins’s pickup, but it was jammed shut. Serrano then positioned his patrol car at the burning pickup and, with a winch line that he attached to the door, forced it open. He and the other deputy reached through the doorway, grasped Watkins, and pulled her from the vehicle, flames then burning at the dashboard. Watkins required hospitalization for treatment of her injuries, from which she died four days later.
87764 – 989287764-9892