According to official reports, two police officers suffered smoke inhalation and minor injuries last night while they were trying to rescue a Beaver Falls man whose car hit a tree and burst into flames.

The crash incident began at about 8:30 p.m. An on duty state trooper was monitoring traffic along Route 51 and spotted Aaron S. Freed driving 92 mph in a 55 mph zone, police said.

After the trooper proceeded to pursue Freed he discovered a 1998 Plymouth Neon engulfed in flames where it had hit a tree near Joe Hall Road in Chippewa. Trooper Thomas Desmond radioed other officers in the area for help before releasing a fire extinguisher to try to put the fire out. Other Officers from Chippewa and South Beaver arrived to help Desmond but they could not get Freed out of the vehicle. They were able to save Freed’s life by containing the flames until the fire authorities and rescue crews arrived on the scene.

Freed was rescued and unconscious at the time when he was extracted from the vehicle. After he was pulled, he was immediately transported by helicopter to UPMC Mercy Hospital where he was noted to be in serious condition with burns and other injuries according to police.

Desmond and Chippewa Officer Richelle Herczak were treated and released from the Medical Center in Beaver for the burns they experience while rescuing the man. They also suffered other injuries involving smoke inhalation damage to their lungs.

Authorities found evidence that Freed was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. He was also charged with fleeing the scene and eluding police, driving with a DUI suspended license, and speeding among other traffic violations.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 at 9:47 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.