BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – An NFTA Police officer who initially pursued a speeding car down Main Street in Buffalo was one of the first people to arrive at the ghastly scene.
“I’m going to need an ambulance in the area of the 33 Expressway. A vehicle just went head on off the end of it,” the officer says.
The BMW, driven by 47-year-old Kevin Wayne Brown, started on fire after the crash last Saturday.
The officer is heard saying, “Vehicle’s on fire down on 33. I’m going to spin around and try to get down there.”
But nothing could be done to save Brown, who was trapped inside his car. Two EMTs and the NFTA Police officer were unable to stay close to the car as flames shot high into the air.
Investigators say Brown was street racing an unnamed 19-year-old driver. After the pair whizzed by NFTA officers, almost striking one of their patrol cars, one officer pursued Brown while the other went after the teen.
But the officer chasing Brown gave up the pursuit after Brown shot down Woodlawn Avenue going the wrong way. He was a half mile behind his BMW when it crashed through a guardrail on Humboldt Parkway and exploded on Route 33 below.
In video, you can hear the officer banging on the vehicle, attempting to free Brown, as he shouts for the man to get out of the vehicle. But the flames were too intense, forcing the EMTs and officer to back off.
“They were next to a burning car with flames going over their heads with no protective gear on like the fire department wears. They were definitely in fight mode trying to get this patient out of the car,” Rural Metro Supervisor Dave Mangus said. “They gave it their all for probably a good two minutes and they had to back away because the heat became too intense for them to withstand.”
NFTA Police Chief George Gast said, “He attempts to break out on of the windows of the vehicle to attempt to extricate the individual from the car, and in the course of doing that he actually breaks his collapsible baton, he hit the window so hard.”
The officer who tried to save Brown had just helped break up a fight at Main and Utica involving 40 to 60 people. Authorities say both officers and the crowed would have been in the path of the speeding cars had an unknown gunman not fired a shot moments before, sending people scattering.
“I think the irony is that in this case, as opposed to most situations, a gun shot actually saved lives because it caused these individuals to get out of the street,” Chief Gast said.
The officer who tried to save Brown is now back to work after taking some time off.
The two EMTs who attempted to rescue Brown also took some time off following the crash.