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News Release

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Media Relations

Officers Brave Flames, Save Woman Driver

Los Angeles:† LAPD officers fought back flames from a burning Lexus, early this morning, November 17, 2005, to keep a woman alive until fire fighters could arrive.†

At about 4:35 a.m., motorcycle officer Tyrhone Ragland was riding to work on the Santa Monica Freeway when he saw flames engulfing a 1995 Lexus 3000 on the side of the freeway near the La Brea off ramp.† Amanda Renee Donnelly was trapped inside the car when it came to rest on its side.†

"The car looked like it hit the guard rail at a high rate of speed and catapulted 80 feet," said Officer Ragland.† "I didn't see the collision, so I wasn't sure if someone was still inside.† When I rode up, I realized the driver was trapped.† All I could do was get help and try to keep the flames away from her."†

Donnelly's car was traveling westbound when the collision occurred.†

Officer Ragland radioed for any officers to help him and requested the fire department.† Officers from the nearby Wilshire Police Station, which also houses the West Traffic Division, arrived quickly.† Officers Leondis Good, A.C. Henry, Hilton Henry, Phil Carr, and David Benioff joined Officer Ragland.† Officers secured the adjacent freeway off ramp and threw dirt on the fire, while reassuring the driver.† Police motorcycles are not equipped with fire extinguishers.†††

"It's amazing that the driver survived this crash," said Lieutenant Joe Peyton, who is Officer Raglandís watch commander.† "Thank God the officers were nearby.† I could see flames fifteen feet high as I drove from the distance."†

Four Los Angeles Fire Department engine companies arrived quickly and put out the flames.† Fire fighters had to use a heavy tow rig to lift the car from the embankment, then cut the woman from the wreck.† She was taken to a local hospital.

Officer Ragland was appointed to the LAPD in 1990.† He is 39 years old.†

Photos of the collision and of Officer Ragland are available upon request from Media Relations.