HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — An emotional video shows the moment a Hillsborough County sergeant and a group of good Samaritans pulled a mother and her five kids from their overturned minivan.
Just after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the mom was turning left onto Interstate 75 southbound when her car was t-boned across the southbound lanes of U.S. 301, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
Sergeant Donnie Rizer took charge as soon as he arrived, directing the good Samaritans to hold the car on its side while he crawled through the sunroof to check on the family.
All the children were pulled to safety except for one, who was trapped by her seatbelt.
Rizer maintained his composure and ensured the little girl she would be ok as he reached in to free her.
"It's ok, baby. I'll get ya," he repeated as he helped her crawl out of the car.
The sergeant was commended for not only risking his own safety but taking extra steps to comfort the family throughout those scary moments. He even recovered a pacifier from the car for one of the kids.
"Sergeant Donnie Rizer's response was nothing short of extraordinary. His bravery, composure, and genuine care for all involved are commendable," Sheriff Chad Chronister said.
According to the sheriff's office, the children were ranging in age from infant to 9 years old. They were all taken to the hospital, along with their mother, to treat mostly "seatbelt burn" and bruising.
"Let's salute Sgt. Rizer for his exceptional bravery and selflessness. His actions inspire us all," the sheriff's office wrote.