Wrecker driver who helped save deputy constable from fiery crash in Pasadena honored, receives recognition award

PASADENA, Texas – A wrecker driver who helped save a constable deputy from a fiery crash in Pasadena in July was honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving Tuesday for his heroic actions.

Richard Borgstrom was recognized at the First Responders Support Team monthly meeting, hosted by the organization, which was created to “make drunk driving a thing of the past,” according to their website.

“I’m very grateful for you,” said Precinct 8 Deputy Constable Kiana LeMelle, as she embraced the man credited with saving her life. “Thank you. There are no words, but I just said thank you. I can’t thank him enough.”

Pct. 8 Constable Phil Sandlin, executive director of the Harris County Toll Road Authority Roberto Trevino, and representatives with MADD presented Borgstrom with recognition awards for his life-saving efforts that led to LeMelle being safely pulled from her burning patrol car on July 26.

Borgstrom said it took several attempts at getting LeMelle out of her patrol SUV. He ultimately ran back to his truck and used a trailer hitch to break her window.

“All of a sudden, the smoke just came out,” Borgstrom said. “She was suffocating in there. I mean the smoke was so thick you could cut it with a knife.”

Once he and others were able to pull LeMelle out of the SUV and away from it, he said moments later the entire vehicle engulfed in flames.

“We started ducking because she had ammunition [in the car]. Ammunition started going off and other officers we were ducking behind cars,” he said.

Borgstrom said Beltway 8 isn’t his typical route.

But, he said, on July 26, “something made me go towards the beltway.”

“If he would not done that, I could tell you we wouldn’t be here today,” said Precinct 8 Constable Phil Sandlin.

Here’s what happened

Police received reports about a crash on Beltway 8 northbound at San Augustine Avenue around 2:10 a.m.

When police arrived at the scene, they discovered that LeMelle was reportedly stopped on the shoulder and a service vehicle hit her patrol unit from behind, causing it to hit a wall and catch fire.

LeMelle was transported to Memorial Hermann Southeast with head trauma that required staples and stitches, authorities said. Officials said she was released around and recovered at home. Two of the three individuals in the service vehicle were transported to HCA Southeast, police said.

According to Pasadena PD, alcohol did not appear to be a factor in this crash. Investigators said they are unsure if the deputy constable had her lights on when the crash happened.

The driver accused of hitting LeMelle will not be charged. Pasadena PD said the district attorney’s office declining to press charges. Pasadena PD said they believe the driving was falling asleep when he hit LeMelle.

All parties involved had no life-threatening injuries, investigators said.

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