THOMPSON’S STATION, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Williamson County congressman is being hailed as a hero after he pulled a man from a burning car.
It happened Monday afternoon in the township of Burwood in southern Williamson County.
Much of the drama was captured on the body cameras of the two arriving officers.
According to supervisors at the 23rd Judicial Drug Task Force, this began in Dickson County when a black BMW drove past drug agents. Agents gave chase to the black BMW, but when the chase reached speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour, agents called it off.
The agency issued a blanket “BOLO,” and as this black BMW pulled into Williamson County, Congressmen stood behind the vehicle.
Corporal Jimmy Gillam was heard saying that the black vehicle he was behind was traveling 65 miles per hour just as it was climbing a hill and crashing into trees.
Winston Thompson, a 22-year-old from Nashville, drove the BMW.
Gillam stopped, radioed 911, then got out and held out his gun. “Show me your hands,” he can be heard saying over the bodycam.
Gillam waited a few moments, unclear as to what was going on inside the vehicle, which had very dark windows. While waiting for his reinforcements, the BMW began to catch fire.
Then the 12-year veteran jumped into action, breaking down the window, opening the door and encountering the unconscious driver.
“You are OK?” Gillam can be heard on the body cam video.
As flames and smoke filled the car’s cockpit, the 46-year-old deputy pulled the unconscious man from the burning car. They can hear Gillam asking loudly, “Anyone else in the car? [I] can not see”
Meanwhile, Deputy CH King has arrived at the crime scene.
The moments were chaotic as both MPs, unsure if anyone was still in the car, peered into the heavily smoking car to search and see if anyone else was trapped.
As Deputy King ran back to get his fire extinguisher, Cpt. Gillam risked his own safety by walking into the flames again and smoking a second time to check the car. He was immediately overwhelmed by thick, noxious, suffocating smoke.
At this point, Deputy King hits the flames with the fire extinguisher.
“Is anyone inside?” Deputy King can be heard yelling over the body cam.
Coughing loudly, Deputy Gillam returned to the fire again, this time with his fire extinguisher, and also attempted to put out the fire to continue searching the heavily burning car.
“I can’t tell,” shouts Deputy King.
After a few more moments, it was revealed that Thompson was the only inmate.
Within minutes, the flames continued to grow and ammunition that was in the suspect’s BMW began to explode. When this happened, the two rescue workers went to the dazed and injured driver and pulled him even further away from the scene of the accident to be on the safe side.
Deputy Gillam has been evaluated by first responders and has no lasting effects.
The suspect was transported to Vanderbilt, where he is said to be in critical condition.
“Yes he is. He embodies a true public servant,” said Sheriff Dusty Rhoades when asked if Cpl. Gillam is a hero.
When Thompson is released from the hospital, he faces charges of evading arrest, speeding and driving without a license.
News 2 has checked Williamson, Maury and Sumner counties and Metro and there are no previous arrests for the 22-year-old, whose life will be saved on his 22nd birthday.
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