Alcoa (WVLT) A police officer is being hailed a hero tonight after rescuing a man from a fiery crash, and almost certain death.
WVLT Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb has more.
When officer Dek Melton arrived on the scene of a violent collision on North Wright road yesterday, he thought he would be on a manhunt for a man who left the scene of an accident.
Instead, he ended up saving his life.
Captain Rick Arnold says, "I think it's what a lot of officers do everyday and don't get recognized for it."
But an Alcoa police officer is getting a special pat on the back today for saving a man's life.
It was just after four Thursday afternoon when Officer Dek Melton arrived on the scene of a serious car crash off Wright Road.
"I noticed that one vehicle was on fire. I looked inside the vehicle and actually couldn't see anybody."
Melton says he talked to people in the other vehicle who said they believed the driver had fled the scene so he called for assistance.
But six minutes after his arrival, something told him to take a closer look into the vehicle.
"I realized that during the accident the seats in that vehicle had actually been broke and he was laying pretty much flat on his back."
That was becoming more engulfed in flames.
"I just thought man, I've got to get him out of here and I've got to get him out of here fast."
And that's exactly what Officer Melton did.
"I just remember opening the door and grabbing a hold of him and dragging him out and up the hill."
31 year old Gabriel Breeden is now at UT Hospital in serious condition but he's alive, thanks to Officer Dek Melton.
"I don't guess it's really sank in to that point yet. I'm just thankful that God gave me the courage and the ability to do what needed to be done to save his life."
Officer Melton says he plans to go see or call Breeden in the hospital in the coming days.
Breeden may be thankful for his life but there could be a big lesson learned.
Police say alcohol was present and Breeden could face charges after their investigation is complete.