SANFORD, Fla. — Orlando Fire Lt. Benjamin Wootson said he was glad to be in the right place at the right time when he drove past a crash Saturday morning.
Seminole County Deputy Matthew Luxon had crashed his patrol car into an overpass bridge around 10:30 a.m. near Orange Boulevard and Wayside Drive in Sanford.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said Luxon suffered a medical emergency before crashing his vehicle.
Wootson, who was off duty, saw the situation and quickly stepped in and rescued him.
Pure fate put him in place to save Luxon’s life.
“We were running late getting to my son’s soccer practice, he said. “Typically, we try to get there 30, 45 minutes early so they can do the warm-up. My son was dragging his feet, taking his time. As we were turning left onto Orange, I noticed a patrol car coming toward us.”
Out of habit, he looked in his rearview mirror and witnessed a horrific scene as the SUV smashed into a wall.
“I immediately pulled a U-turn at the next intersection and rushed back,” Wootson said. “By the time i got on scene, there was a little bit of flames on the underneath of the vehicle, the engine compartment was already on fire. He was disoriented (and) I was able to get him out of the seatbelt, pull him out of the vehicle.”
The deputy’s patrol car burst into flames seconds after Luxon was pulled from it.
“I took his radio off his chest, called for an officer down scenario,” Wootson said.
Wootson said he was thankful other drivers saw what was happening and stopped too.
“The ammunition in the back of his vehicle started firing off at that moment, sounded like fireworks,” he said. “So, I had a good samaritan move my vehicle. My neighbor happened to show up, so he tended to my son.”
For Wootson, the situation served as an important reminder that first responders are never truly off-duty and that average people can play a significant role when moments matter.
“Don’t just sit back and watch, get out, do what’s right, (and) make a change,” he said. “Because those little things could be long-impact, lasting; it could be generational changes.”
Channel 9 is still working on learning what happened to Luxon that caused him to crash.
At last check, he is doing OK but is still in the hospital.
©2023 Cox Media Group