Baltimore County Man Awarded Certificate of Valor For Saving Pennsylvania Driver's Life From Fiery Crash
TIMONIUM - A Baltimore County man received one of Maryland's highest civilian honors for saving a Pennsylvania man's life from a car crash last March.
Jorge Alberto Hernandez-Ortiz was awarded the Maryland State Police Certificate of Valor at an awards ceremony at the Timonium fairgrounds on March 22.
According to officials, around 1:30 a.m. on March 25, 2022, the Maryland State Police McHenry Barrack received a 911 call about a serious collision on I-68 in Garrett County, Pennsylvania.
An investigation revealed that a 2016 Hyundai Elantra had rear-ended a tractor-trailer driven by Hernandez-Ortiz. The crash caused the Hyundai to catch fire and become lodged under the truck's rear bumper.
The police report states that the flames quickly engulfed the car's engine area, and the fire began to spread to the passenger compartment.
Hernandez-Ortiz exited his vehicle and found that the Hyundai driver was trapped in the car and unresponsive. In an act of selfless service and heroism, Hernandez-Ortiz retrieved a hammer from his truck and broke the driver's side window to open the door.
The Hyundai driver was incapacitated and severely injured from the collision and fire. Hernandez-Ortiz braved the flames and pulled the driver from their vehicle, dragging them 50 feet away to safety.
EMS arrived on the scene and took the driver to emergency shock trauma, where they were treated for their injuries. The injured driver later asked the Master Trooper in charge of the investigation to thank Hernandez-Ortiz for saving his life.
Master Trooper Aaron Nelson says that Hernandez-Ortiz was thrilled to be recognized at the ceremony.
"It was quite a response by Mr. Hernandez-Ortiz, and [he] rightfully deserves recognition," Nelson said. "He brought several family members with him. From the time he entered the venue, I noticed he was smiling from ear to ear."
"Mr. Hernandez-Ortiz's actions prior to the arrival of First Responders were critical to this incident having a positive outcome. The Maryland State Police is proud to not only recognize the efforts of its personnel but also the efforts of citizens like Mr. Hernandez-Ortiz," Maryland State Police said in a statement.