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Sheriff's deputies recall daring, difficult rescue of two teens

CREATED Nov 8, 2012 - UPDATED: Nov 8, 2012

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  • Video by wtmj.com

  • Video by wtmj.com


MILWAUKEE- Two injured Waukesha County sheriff's deputies are talking for the first time about a daring and difficult rescue.

A speeding car slammed into the deputies' squad car on I-94 last week.  The deputies worked fast to pull a pair of teens from a burning car.

The crash happened in an instant.

"I felt a lot of pain.  I thought my back was broken," says deputy Brian Skaar.

"You just kind of shake there and say, 'did we just get hit?'" says deputy Patrick Sykes.

Deputies Skaar and Sykes were stopped along I-94 when a speeding car smashed into the back of their squad.

"I've been in Iraq.  I've been in Afghanistan, and this is by far the worst thing I think I've ever experienced," says Sykes.

Dazed, the deputies were stunned to see a burning car rolling toward the shoulder.  The driver was signaling for help.

"He's trying to open his door and he's waving, and we knew right then that we can't just sit here," explains Skaar.  "I can't, in good conscience, sit there and watch this guy burn."

As the fire raged, the deputies risked their lives to free the driver and rescue the passenger, who was unconscious.

"The flames were getting bigger and bigger, so you could definitely feel them standing there.  It was pretty hot, so our thought was get as far away from the car as we could," says Sykes.  "I said, 'hey, go work on that kid, he's way worse than we are right now.'"

Paramedics rushed to the scene and airlifted the passenger to a hospital, where he later died.

Prosecutors say the driver, 18-year-old Ihor Sahan, was drunk when the crash took place.  He's now charged with homicide.

Deputy Sykes is back on light duty.  Deputy Skaar is recovering at home with his wife and newborn son, aptly named, Chance.

"I know that someday, I'm going to be the parent of a 17-year-old, and thinking about what kind of things I can do to try to make sure he doesn't make those kinds of decisions," says deputy Skaar.

"It's a terrible tragedy (with) two young kids.  This happened, and it could have been prevented," argues deputy Sykes.