Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Passing motorists cut seatbelt to free driver in fatal Selmon Expressway crash

TAMPA — One of the first to come upon the scene of a crash that killed three people on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway was Don Rogers, a 48-year-old contractor from Seffner.

Rogers attempted to save the life of one of the victims and was hailed as a hero by Brian Dugan, the Tampa Police Department's interim chief at a news conference Friday afternoon.

Rogers said he was driving home from work Thursday afternoon when he saw smoke and pulled over. He and a stranger ran to the source, a Hyundai with flames spreading from its trunk forward.

Seeing a man in the drivers' seat, Rogers and the other man pried the door open, and Rogers cut him loose from his seatbelt with a knife. The car was so hot that a fob on the keychain he was carrying melted.

"You could feel the heat," he said.

Rogers pulled the man out of the car, saying he was never responsive and did not have a pulse. With smoke filling the car's back seat, he didn't realize there were two passengers until police told him later.

"I didn't sleep too good last night," he said. He tossed and turned, wondering if he could have saved them.

The decision to pull over and help was never in question, he said.

"I have a hard time driving by somebody with a flat tire," he said. "Just doing what I think is right and doing it as quick as possible."

Passing motorists cut seatbelt to free driver in fatal Selmon Expressway crash 08/11/17 [Last modified: Friday, August 11, 2017 4:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut


    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview


    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest


    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]