Florida Deputies Rescue Woman Trapped in Burning Car Seconds Before it was Engulfed in Flames

By Peyton Phillips January 12, 2022
Florida deputies risked their own lives to save a woman from a burning car seconds before is was engulfed in flames.

Florida Highway Patrol officer Richard Brewster was driving north on the Suncoast Parkway in Pasco County, Florida just after midnight on Dec. 29 when he witnessed a horrendous car crash. A car slammed head-on with another vehicle.

“As we were coming up the embankment, all you see was just the implosion of all the steam, sparks, lights,” Brewster said. “I immediately ran over there and checked to see if [the driver] had a pulse.”

Ricca Soto, 30, was the driver of the Infinity that was driving southbound in the wrong lane. Once she slammed into the other car, her vehicle burst into flames.

“Everybody was like, ‘It’s on fire, back up, start moving,’ and I’m like, ‘No, she’s in here, come help me,’” Brewster said. “It seemed like I ran around that car a million times trying to get her out and then the other lady was on the phone with 911. “

Pasco County deputies arrived shortly after. “The first officer showed up, he comes running up and he asked [if there was] somebody in there, and I said yeah, but I can’t get her out,” said Brewster.

The sheriff’s office released body-cam video footage of the incident, where first responders can be seen using firing extinguishers to alleviate the flames. The fire continued to burn and get closer to Soto, still trapped in the car.

One of the deputies broke down the rest of the crushed driver’s-side door to quickly pull Soto out of the vehicle.

“We share video of this rescue to show the dangers our deputies face each shift,” the sheriff’s office said. “We’re proud of the deputies’ selfless efforts to ensure the driver made it out of the car alive.”

Brewster said the car burst into flames as soon as Soto was removed from the car. “It was seconds,” he said.

Soto is recovering at a local hospital. “I’m really glad that the deputies were there,” said Soto’s stepdaughter, Elizabeth Soto. “It’s really challenging to even watch that video and know it’s somebody close to me.”

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Image source: Pasco County Sheriff’s Office