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Sheriff’s Deputy Saves Female Occupant From Burning Vehicle

Encinitas CA— Early Sunday morning, October 23, 2016, at about 1:20 a.m., Deputy Steve Gusman from the North Coastal Station was driving northbound in the 3300 block of Manchester Avenue, in the city of Encinitas. He observed, what he initially thought, was a cloud of fog rolling in from the ocean. As Deputy Gusman drove through the area, he smelled smoke. He turned his vehicle around in an effort to further investigate. He stopped his vehicle and walked towards the marsh on the south side of the road. Deputy Gusman looked down and observed a dark colored Honda Civic that had recently left the roadway. There was smoke and a red glow coming from underneath the vehicle. He could not see the occupant of the vehicle because the interior was filled with smoke. Deputy Gusman then heard a female voice coming from inside.

The driver and sole occupant appeared to be in shock and informed him that she could not move. Deputy Gusman quickly opened the door, reached in and found the driver. He immediately removed the woman from the smoking vehicle, placed her over his shoulder, and carried her up the embankment to safety. Just moments later, the vehicle became fully engulfed in flames. If not for the actions of Deputy Gusman, the occupant would have been severely injured or perished at the scene. There were no reported injuries. However, Deputy Gusman was treated at the scene by paramedics for smoke inhalation.

While on the scene, the 54-year-old female driver was evaluated and determined to be under the influence of alcohol. She was later transported to the Vista Detention Facility, where she was booked into jail.