Man accused of firing shot at employee who issued violation

This story was updated at 3 p.m. March 15, 2022, to add comments from Sgt. William Drew.

Montgomery County police Sgt. William Drew was driving home Saturday on Interstate 270 after his evening work shift, when, at around 1:25 a.m., he saw a car that had gone off the road.

Within minutes, Drew was pulling a driver from a burning car.

Drew said in an interview on Tuesday that he was in the express lanes and could see a “plume of smoke” in the local lanes.

The car was on fire and the driver was inside.

Officer Nathan Rodgers already was at the scene of the crash on I-270 near the Montgomery Village Avenue exit. Drew pulled over to help.

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Drew said Rodgers tried to speak with the man in the car, but he was unconscious. Rodgers told Drew the man was trapped.

The officers tried opening the front and rear doors, but couldn’t. Drew used his flashlight to break a window to get in.

“We had to make a decision quickly because we didn’t want the car to explode,” he said.

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Rescuing the driver took about 30 seconds, but “it seemed like forever,” Drew said.

“[Your] training kicks in. … It’s one of those things,” he said.

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Drew said he dragged the driver about 20 feet from the car. Less than a minute later, the flames grew to 10 feet high and engulfed the vehicle.

“It was at that moment that I realized this was a close call,” he said.

A few minutes later, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service crews arrived, extinguished the fire and took the victim to the hospital, Drew said. He wasn’t sure of the victim’s condition as of Tuesday afternoon.

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Drew, an 11-year veteran of the department, said he hadn’t handled a call for a burning car before Saturday.

“We’re just both happy that we were able to get him out and save his life,” he said. “He was a younger gentleman. Any of the other 1,200 officers would have done the same thing.”

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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