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Gloucester deputy saves life by lifting vehicle off woman's head after crash

Glouchester County Shereiff’s Office
Posted at 10:03 AM, May 19, 2021

GLOUCESTER Co., Va. - The Gloucester Sheriff’s Office is recognizing Deputy Jon Holt after an “unbelievable incident” that happened on May 7 when Holt responded to an overturned vehicle with an entrapment. The driver was laying underneath the vehicle with her head pinned by the sunroof.

Deputy Holt's body camera captured the harrowing rescue.

Holt can be seen getting out of his patrol car and quickly running to the scene of an overturned SUV off Route 17.

The driver’s daughter can be heard frantically yelling, “She can’t breathe.”

Her mother was trapped underneath the vehicle with her head pinned by the sunroof.

The son can be heard crying saying, “Mommy.”

Holt remained calm, coaxing the boy out of the car.

“Come here buddy,” Holt can be heard saying.

Then with Herculean strength, Holt can be heard grunting as he lifted the more than 4,000-pound SUV. For those few seconds the vehicle is off the ground, the woman is able to get free.

“Is your head clear?” Holt said in the body camera video.

Holt brought News 3 back to the site where the crash happened nearly two weeks ago.

“It’s Mother’s Day weekend,” Holt said. “You can’t let a child see their mom pass away on Mother’s Day weekend or get seriously injured. You have to try. That’s our job we have to do something.”

The deputy was traveling in the opposite direction when he saw the exact moment the SUV flipped, landing upside down.

Arriving on scene moments later, Holt, an Army veteran said his military training kicked in.

Through sheer will and determination due to fearing the woman may succumb to her circumstance in front of her panic-stricken child, Holt took quick action and was able to physically lift the vehicle up enough for the driver to maneuver her head out to safety.

“I tried to lift the vehicle one time and said, 'I can’t do it,'” he said. “I reverted back to my military training and that’s something that’s unacceptable, so I put my shoulder into the door frame, braced up and said, 'All I have to do is just stand up.' That’s what I just kept telling myself. I don’t know if it was adrenaline, sheer will, but I knew what I had to do.”

Holt said the woman had some bleeding and minor injuries.

“You can still see pieces of the vehicle,” he said at the crash site.

Holt’s quick actions saved the woman from an almost certain tragedy.

“It’s what we do,” said Holt. “It’s what we train for and I’m no hero. I’m just an average cop that gets put in extraordinary situations.”

According to Holt, the family’s dog was also in the SUV when it flipped over. The dog ran off, but it was found the next morning and was reunited with the mother and children.

There are several other heroic acts involving Deputy Holt that earned him the local and regional honor of 2020’s Top Cop Awards from the Greater Hampton Roads Regional Crime Line.

On March 24, 2020, he saved a woman and her child from a burning home. The year before that, Holt saved a VDOT worker’s life with CPR.

Holt said he must have a guardian angel watching over him.

Related: Gloucester Co. deputy named Crime Line's 2020 Top Cop