TWINSBURG, Ohio — Two Twinsburg police officers acted quickly to save children from an overturned SUV on I-480 east of State Route 91 Saturday.
Bodycam video captured the dramatic rescue on the highway.
Officers responded around 7:10 p.m. to a rollover crash in the middle of the eastbound lanes on I-480.
Officer Yamil Encarnacion, one of the responding officers, crawled into the wreckage, cut the child safety seat free and removed a 5-year-old girl from the wrecked vehicle.
"I climbed in, I cut her seat belt that was keeping the car seat attached to the seat. I sat down inside the vehicle and pushed with my legs so I could free the car seat as best as possible. And that's when I was able to get her free and climb down," Encarnacion said.
The video also shows Officer Travis Ebetino pull a 4-year-old boy to safety, reassuring the child as he was carried away.
"An emotional moment, to say the least. Stressful at best. But my sole focus at that time was beside myself was just to get straight to the kids out of the vehicle," Ebetino said.
Both the children suffered only minor injuries. Their mother and a 3-year-old boy also sustained minor injuries. She told officers that she overcorrected her steering, causing her vehicle to roll over and eventually stop in the eastbound lanes of I-480.
The officers are being hailed as heroes, but Encarnacion said it's what any officer would have done.
"I'm very thankful that I was there at the right time. And had it not been me, it would have been any of the other officers here," he said.
The driver told the police officer she was traveling westbound on I-480 when she attempted to pass a slower moving vehicle on the left. As she moved to the left lane, another vehicle traveling in front of her also moved over and suddenly applied the brakes.
"What makes it dramatic is you're able to actually watch it on video and see these are the kind of things that officers do," said Assistant Police Chief Bob Gonsiewski. "What goes through my mind is that's the kind of officers we have here in Twinsburg and, you know what, all over the country as a matter of fact."
The officers said if it had not been for the little girl's car seat and her being strapped in properly, the crash would have resulted in a different outcome.
Click here to watch the bodycam footage.
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