BY NATE BARNETT
Officer Dakota Lamielle is being recognized for his efforts in helping an elderly woman who is not able to walk without aid escape a car that burst into flames.
Wadsworth Dispatch was contacted by Rittman Dispatch with reports of sporadic driving with the possibilities of a drunk driver. Officer Lamielle spotted the blue pickup on route 57 going 35 miles per hour and was driving on the shoulder with their hazards on. Immediately, officer Lamielle knew this was not an intoxicated driver.
“Intoxicated drivers do not drive with their hazards on. They try to drive as normal as possible and definitely not on the shoulder of the road,” Officer Lamielle said.
When he approached the vehicle the driver explained that her mechanic said her catalytic converter was clogged. The mechanic said that she should be able to drive around 30 miles if she took it slow. She was driving from Rittman to Copley.
Officer Lamielle asked her to pop the hood of the car where it was already smoking. Officer Lamielle and the driver decided to turn the car off and let it cool as they both thought the car was overheating. While the car was off, the smoke increased and Officer Lamielle decided to get the driver and passenger away from the vehicle. As they were helping the 88 year old woman away from the car the car burst into flames. When the fire began to grow Officer Lamielle picked up the woman and took her to his cruiser then backed up.
Once his cruiser was safely backed away, Lamielle tried to get the nearby stopped traffic to move. Cars were less than ten feet away from the burning vehicle on the two lane road. Lamielle yelled at the stopped traffic to move but to no avail. He was worried that the car might explode and many of the nearby vehicles would be hit by shrapnel.
A tire on the burning car exploded and officer Lamielle got back into his cruiser and backed away from the cars. About 15 seconds later the firemen showed up and sprayed the car down.
Officer Lamielle’s Dash cam footage was posted on the Wadsworth Police Facebook Page where it grabbed the attention of many local news stations and even the New York Post.