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Injured Waukesha deputies rescued teenagers in fiery freeway crash

CREATED Nov. 1, 2012 - UPDATED: Nov. 1, 2012

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WAUKESHA - Two Waukesha County Sheriff's deputies who were injured in a fiery freeway crash rescued two teenagers from the car which collided with their squad and caught fire.

A Waukesha Sheriff's spokeswoman says Flight for Life took one of the teenagers to Froedtert Hospital.  That victim, a 17-year-old boy from West Allis, was in critical condition.

All four people were hospitalized.  The crash may have involved drunk driving.

"(The deputies') injuries were sustained as a result of the accident.  They were injured at the time they were trying to render aid," said Waukesha County Sheriff's Deputy Inspector James Gumm to Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Jay Sorgi.

"I know both of them.  I certainly think that it speaks to the quality of their character, that they were able to have the calmness of nature, sense to exit their squad immediately and begin to try to extricate the two individuals from the striking vehicle and render aid."

The crash happened at about 2:40 a.m. Thursday on I-94 eastbound at Sunny Slope Road.

The Wisconsin State Patrol says that the two deputies were patrolling I-94, inside a median area, and were facing eastbound to look at westbound traffic.

A car was going eastbound when it drove through the media, struck the back of the deputies' car, and caught fire.

The deputy on the squad car's passenger's side got out and pulled the driver, who is 18 and from St. Francis, out of the other car.

Both deputies then pulled the unconscious boy from the other car's passenger side.

An ambulance took deputies to Froedtert Hospital.  They were released with injuries to their back and face.

Authorities arrested the driver of the other car on suspicion of drunk driving.  Rescue crews took him to Waukesha Memorial Hospital.  He had what were described as minor injuries.

The crash led to the closure of both directions of I-94.  All lanes re-opened at 5:45 a.m.

The Wisconsin State Patrol is handling the investigation.