Off-duty officer rescued high school students hurt in crash - FOX 10 News |

Off-duty officer rescued high school students hurt in crash

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GILBERT, Ariz. -

Last week's accident sent four students from Queen Creek High School to the hospital. Now, we're hearing from an off-duty officer who helped to save the teens' lives.

He's a Mesa Police sergeant and lives near the crash scene. If he didn't act as fast as he did, things could have turned out much worse.

The accident happened just west of Greenfield where Ocotillo turns into a dirt road. The teens didn't realize the road ended and smashed into the canal.

By chance, the Mesa Sergeant was awake and heard the crash.

"I am probably in my backyard, up at 1:30 in the morning probably 3 or 4 days a year," says Sgt. Dean Stephan.

Thankfully he was. The sergeant and his father-in-law called 911 and made their way down the dirt road to the crash scene.

"When we got closer, the truck actually lit on fire."

The two were able to pull 3 of 4 teens out of the burning truck. One was able to get out on his own. The sergeant took care of the victims as he guided paramedics into the scene.

"All I was doing was going back and forth getting all their names. I just wanted them to keep telling me their names. Tell me your name. Just enough that if they tell me their name they will be conscious and they are going to be understanding what I am saying and talking to me."

All 4 boys were airlifted to hospitals. Their injuries were very severe. But they all survived.

"I have seen all kinds of accidents, all kinds of fatalities. I don't know how all four of these boys are alive."

At Queen Creek High School, friends covered the campus with well wishes. Gilbert Police say alcohol was likely a factor.

The night of the crash, after the victims were flown away, the sergeant and his wife woke up their 16-year-old son.

"To show the devastation that can happen just from teenage driving and being out of control," Stephan explains. "We wanted to show, to get that impact to him so hopefully he doesn't make that same mistake in the future."

The sergeant says some of the parents of the victims have called and thanked him for what he did.

Three of the 4 were seniors at Queen Creek High School. Graduation is this Friday.

As for the investigation into what led to this crash, Gilbert PD says it is ongoing.

Follow this story: Four Queen Creek High Schoolers hurt after truck hits canal

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