Even though Officer Chris Tepfer's courageous actions helped a Denton man survive a horrific crash, this officer doesn't want to be called a hero.
Tepfer had just arrived at work Sunday when he heard the call — a major accident involving a pickup truck on fire. He grabbed his keys and rushed to the crash scene just a few blocks from the Corinth Police Department.
His dashboard camera captured terrifying images as he arrived.
"When I pulled up and parked my car, I saw the victim fall out of the driver's side window," Tepfer said.
The driver — who was engulfed in flames — tried desperately to put them out by rolling on the ground. Officer Tepfer ran down the embankment to help him.
"I began patting the fire on his clothes with my hands, trying to extinguish the fire," the officer said.
Tepfer extinguished the flames out without burning himself. But as the intense heat increased, he feared the truck would explode.
So he dragged the man 40 yards up the hill, away from the burning wreckage.
"I thought the worst, of course," Tepfer said. "I thought for sure, he wasn't going to make it."
The officer, who has been with the Corinth Police Department only six months, checked to see if there were any other victims in the car. There were not.
A Careflight helicopter ambulance rushed the victim to Parkland Memorial Hospital's burn unit in Dallas.
"It's a blessing to be in a position to be able to help somebody when you get the opportunity," Tepfer said. "It's always awesome to be able to do that."
But Tepfer isn't comfortable with all this "hero" talk.
"There’s not a doubt in my mind that any other officer responding would've done the same thing I did," he said.
Corinth police won't reveal the identity of the victim, who suffered severe burns, until they talk with him at the hospital. He underwent surgery on Wednesday. Investigators believe he fell asleep at the wheel.
Officer Tepfer plans on visiting the man he saved as soon as he's able to see visitors.
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