Trooper Raul Carrillo was driving on the Kansas Turnpike near El Dorado when a semi hauling diesel fuel crashed and caught on fire. Video shows fire erupting and pieces flying as the northbound semi crashed into the barrier wall just in front of Carrillo at around 4 p.m. on Feb. 21. The trooper steers to avoid the crash. He then drives back to the crash, where the Turnpike is littered with debris, and runs to the blazing semi, video shows. Carrillo saw flames in the cab and heard the driver yelling for help, a Kansas Highway Patrol release said. The trooper then freed the trapped driver through the shattered windshield.
The driver of the semi and Carrillo sustained severe injuries, the release said. Carrillo has since returned to active duty. Carrillo, a 20-year veteran of the Highway Patrol from the Wichita area, was honored with the Governor’s Award for Valor on Thursday. The award is for Highway Patrol employees “whose acts of heroism demonstrate exceptional bravery under circumstances involving risk of severe personal injury or loss of life to either the employee or another person,” the release said.
“Technical Trooper Carrillo acted in a truly heroic manner. He rose above and beyond the call of duty, risking his own life to save another, bringing great credit to the Kansas Highway Patrol and to himself,” said Col. Mark Bruce, superintendent of the Highway Patrol. “I could not be more proud of him.”