Massachusetts National Guard soldier pulls woman from burning car

STERLING, Mass. — 28-year-old Ryan Leger, a specialist in the Massachusetts National Guard, witnessed a horrific crash while he stopped to take pictures with his wife at Wachusett Reservoir Sunday evening after a drill weekend at Fort Devens.

Just after 5, Legers said a speeding car lost control, banging off the guardrails and crashing head-on into an SUV carrying a family of five. They all survived, but the woman accused of causing the crash was knocked out and her car was on fire. “I signed up to protect civilians. I signed up to protect people in America and that’s the way it should be and if it was anyone else back at my unit at Fort Devens they would’ve done the same thing,” Leger said.

Leger sprinted towards the mangled vehicles, pulling the young woman from her burning car and likely saving her life. “If I wasn’t there within 20 seconds of getting her out the whole car would’ve been up in flames,” he said.

Angel Ortega was behind the SUV that was hit head-on and saw Leger immediately run towards the car. “He was fast. Guy took to action. I mean no hesitation. He was very, very fast,” Ortega said.

Leger says he acted on instinct and is grateful nobody was killed. He claims he’s no hero, just a soldier doing his job. So far, no charges have been filed against the driver. The Sterling police chief says they’re still investigating.

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