News Release, Charles County Sheriff’s Office
On March 13 at 3:35 p.m., Charles County Corrections officers CFC Eric Keys and Cpl. Phillip Norris were conducting a prisoner transport in the area of Route 301 and Trade Zone Avenue in Bowie, MD when they observed an SUV had run off the roadway, struck a tree and caught fire. The officers pulled over and observed a man trying to break open a window with a hammer.
CFC Keys quickly exited the van with a fire extinguisher, while CFC Norris stayed inside the van with the prisoner. As CFC Keys approached the SUV, the grass beneath it and nearby trees were on fire and the inside of the SUV was filled with heavy smoke and air bag dust. CFC Keys instructed a bystander to utilize the extinguisher and spray at his feet while he broke out a window with his agency-issued ASP baton. CFC Keys was then able to unlock the doors and pull the woman out. He dragged her about 20 yards away when he noticed she was not breathing.
He began CPR and continued for several minutes until she began breathing on her own. During that time, the fire grew more intense. With the help of other law enforcement officers and bystanders, the woman was moved further away but as they began moving, the fire engulfed the front and mid-section of the SUV causing portions to explode and expel metal and tire shrapnel at high speeds. CFC Keys and the bystanders protected the woman and placed her in a stable position until paramedics arrived.
The woman was transported to a hospital and survived her injuries. Cpl. Norris maintained constant communication with CFC Keys via their portable radios, and was able to provide critical situational awareness and encouragement as Keys focused on saving the woman.
“These officers were faced with making a quick decision. They took swift and immediate action which ultimately saved the woman’s life,” said Brandon Foster, Director of the Charles County Detention Center. CFC Keys is a 15-year veteran of the CCDC and Cpl. Norris is a 7-year veteran.