Nation & World

N.C. soldier, a real-life Captain America, helps save 3 from fiery crash (VIDEO)

Screenshot from video
Screenshot from video

A Fort Bragg soldier is being praised for his efforts to free passengers after a fiery crash in Chatham County.

The soldier, a captain, was part of a group that included firefighters, a sheriff's deputy and neighbors who potentially saved the lives of three people involved in the May 17 wreck on O'Kelly Chapel Road between Cary and Durham.

One of the men involved in the rescue called the group a "dream team" that moved quickly in the face of danger.

Capt. Steve Voglezon was busy last week, fielding calls from Good Morning America and national media outlets.

All the while, he said, he didn't think many on Fort Bragg knew of his "eventful" Sunday trip to the mall.

Voglezon, who lives in Southern Pines, was visiting the Triangle with his girlfriend.

"We saw a car on its side and it looked like it just happened," he said.

At the time, smoke was already billowing from the vehicle. Voglezon told his girlfriend to call 911, then ran to the sideways car, where a man was screaming for help inside.

While neighbors doused the car with home fire extinguishers, Voglezon and others pulled the driver, Mark Ricketts, from the car and began rendering aid.

At the same time, Chatham County Sheriff's Deputy David Green had arrived on the scene and went to check on the other vehicle.

When he arrived, Green saw the neighbors fighting flames on the now-burning car and others helping Ricketts nearby.

Inside the other car, Green found an elderly couple trapped inside by the damage caused when Ricketts' vehicle struck theirs head-on.

Now, flames were 25-feet high and melting the tail lights of the car with William and Kathleen Thompson trapped inside.

"It was a hot fire," Green recalled. "There's scorch marks on the top of nearby trees."

Green was only feet away from the burning car when the first of at least two explosions occurred.

The blast caught the attention of Voglezon, who realized Green was trying to pull more people from the wreck.

Using a fire extinguisher, Voglezon broke out the driver's side window and pulled William Thompson from the wreck.

"People needed help and I wasn't going to stop," he said.

After the rescue, Voglezon credited his Army training with his quick actions.

Voglezon commands C Battery, 1st Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

He said he, like other soldiers, had been taught to take action.

"I was almost on auto pilot," he said.

It was a similar feeling for Green, who thanked Voglezon and others for their help.

"We had the Army, the Sheriff's Office, the fire department, neighbors," he said. "I was very pleased that we had the people there that we did."

The Thompsons, who along with Ricketts were taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, were amazingly calm during the rescue, Green said.

"They were a lot calmer than I was," Green said.