WOOSTER, Ohio (WJW) — Officers are being credited for saving the lives of people inside a burning car after a high-speed chase ended in a fiery crash in Wayne County.
Body camera video shows officers battling flames to rescue the people in the car.
Investigators said an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper chased after the speeding Audi A5 on U.S. 30 in Wooster around 4 a.m. on July 3. Speeds topped 130 miles per hour before the car went airborne and crashed near an exit ramp to Madison Avenue, according to an incident report.
After cautiously approaching the vehicle, troopers, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Wooster Police officers worked to pull three people out of the car as it burst into flames.
“They did the best they could to contain the fire, and in doing so, possibly saved the lives of the occupants,” said Captain Doug Hunter with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. “All the officers involved threw caution to the wind and attempted to put the fire out and extract the occupants of the vehicle.”
In the body camera video, one of the passengers who was in the car later told a trooper officer his “friend decided to make a bad decision,” and he told him to go slower, but the friend did not listen.
An incident report states the driver, William Parks, 20, of Wooster, faces charges including failure to comply, obstructing official business, reckless operation, offenses involving underage alcohol and open container in a motor vehicle. The three passengers face charges related to underage alcohol.
Investigators said they suspect Parks was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, and open alcohol containers were in the vehicle.
All four people who were inside the car were hospitalized with serious injuries, according to investigators.
“This is exactly why we urge folks not to flee from the police because there’s no excuse for getting everyone in the vehicle possibly injured or killed,” OSHP Sgt. Ray Santiago said.