Md. cop recounts efforts to rescue car fire victim

The officer was released from the hospital Tuesday, having suffered burns to his hands and face in the rescue attempt

By Tom Roussey

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — The Prince George's County police lieutenant who led efforts to save a man trapped in a burning vehicle was released from the hospital Tuesday.

Lt. John Boesman suffered burns to his hands and face after trying to rescue 70-year old Rodwell McNeill from his Mercury Mountaineer Monday afternoon.

Police say McNeill was driving west on Martin Luther King Jr. Highway in Landover when he hit a guardrail and flipped, coming to a stop on a bridge over the Beltway. The car caught on fire with McNeill trapped inside.

Boesman, several other officers and a civilian arrived on the scene and tried to break the Mercury's windshield, but had only limited success, Boesman said in remarks released by the Prince George's County Police Department on YouTube.

"I was committed to it until we realized he had expired, and that's when we backed off," Boesman said.

"Frustrating," he added about the group's inability to get McNeill out in time. "Intellectually I know there's only so much you can do, but it's still frustrating."

McNeill had been in Silver Spring Monday morning, but had returned to within a mile of his Glenarden home when the wreck happened.

Family members and others who knew him describe him as a kind man with deep Christian faith.

Boesman says he has had a chance to express his sympathy to McNeill's family.

"They should at least know in their hearts that the people out there — myself, the other officers, and the civilian, the firefighters and all the other responders — did the best they could," he said.

In an interview with ABC7 Monday night, McNeill's mother-in-law Polly Young expressed deep appreciation for what Boesman and the others had done.

"I'm grateful to them," Young said. "I know they tried, I know they tried. They are heroes."

Reprinted with permission from WJLA

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