Officer JD Smith was heading home to North Bend when he saw the woman in the burning vehicle after a crash. “I just happened to be right there,” he says.

Share story

JD Smith parted ways with his favorite dress shirt in order to help save a woman’s life.

Smith, who is in his 18th year as a police officer in Seattle, was off duty on his way to his North Bend home Monday night when he saw a fiery crash on Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie.

“I’m in the far left lane and see the back of this pickup truck in the air,” Smith said. “And boom, it’s on fire. I just happened to be right there.”

Smith said he ran over to the truck and spotted a woman in the front seat as the truck burst into flames.

“I couldn’t get the door open. I just pulled 10 — I dunno how many times,” he said. Smith says he finally managed to pull the door open.

With the help of a bystander, Smith was able to get the woman out just before the truck exploded. He carried her across the highway to safety, using his favorite shirt to apply pressure to a gash on her head.

Smith said he will keep track of the woman’s condition — she was sent to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle — through state troopers investigating the crash.

Smith credits a reserve firefighter, a retired Seattle Fire Department firefighter, a doctor from Harborview and another bystander for their help in rescuing and stabilizing the woman.

As for his efforts, he said it was just part of his responsibility as a police officer.

“You’re always on duty; it’s in your blood,” Smith said. “You’re always looking around, whether you’re driving or if you’re on duty or off duty, it’s a natural thing. Immediately, I just jumped out and it was like I was on duty again.”

Eastside Fire and Rescue crews got the fire under control and treated two other injured people.

The injured woman’s condition was not immediately known.