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Rescued: FWPD officer pulls man from fiery crash

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - “I have never seen anything more bad*** in my life” an unnamed witness told ABC21 at the scene of a three-car crash Dec. 30.

It happened around 11:30 p.m. at Coliseum Blvd. & Lima Road.

Nearby drivers watched amazed, as a Fort Wayne Police officer pried the crumbled door of the smashed car open, dragging a man’s unconscious body to safety.

We’re told the car burst into flames after the crash.
Officer Nathan Mueller sat at the intersection, watching it unfold.

He responded immediately, not even thinking about the danger he put himself in, despite having a wife and child at home.

"It put me in a situation where, react or something worse could happen," Off. Mueller said, "No clue how fast the fire would go, and no clue as to how far help was for me. It was kind of a split decision kind of thing."

Debris and wreckage littered the busy intersection, shut down for hours while police and firefighters rushed three victims to the hospital, two in critical condition.

Surveillance video shared with ABC21 from Evans Toyota showed the moments unfold.

Courtesy: Evans Toyota Editorial Note: The crash happened around 11:30 p.m. Dec. 30th. Management tells us the time-code on the surveillance video is incorrect.

Fort Wayne Police wouldn’t share Off. Mueller’s dashcam video which caught a different perspective of the crash due to the pending investigation.

Authorities believe alcohol and speed were factors in the crash.

Charges could be possible, depending on the results of the toxicology report which could be weeks, even months.

Just minutes after the crash, a witness gave a statement to ABC21 producer Daniel Beals, “I've never been on the scene of an accident.

I was like oh my god what do i do what do i do? I was just watching... frozen."

She didn’t want to identify herself, but credited the heroic actions of Off. Mueller, “He knew the car was on fire. He knew it was dangerous. and he didn't care he just did it."

Off. Mueller explained, "Knowing well that it was going to go up quickly I didn't feel comfortable taking the time to wait and get a fire extinguisher and wait for fire."

We also spoke with that victim’s father.

He wouldn’t go on camera but did tell us this: “He saved his life. He showed extreme bravery and is an angel from God in my eyes.”

Off. Mueller says drunk driving is a crime he deals with often, two to three times a week.

It’s an issue that hits home to the Noble County native, after being involved in a head on crash last year with a drunk driver.

The airbag went off, leaving the officer with marks on his forearm you can still see today.

Luckily, he survived.

Courtesy: Off. Nathan Mueller - May 15, 2019

"Nonetheless it had an effect on me, it had an effect on my family,” Mueller told us, “That's not a phone call my family enjoyed getting in the middle of the night."

Officer Mueller refuses to call himself a ‘hero’.

He admitted to only speaking to our cameras, in hopes of shining a positive light to the Fort Wayne Police Department, for that kind of work he says, they do every day.

"There's a lot of officers that I know put in my situation would have reacted the exact same way,” Off. Mueller told us, “I just happened to be lucky, be in the exact same place at the exact same time."


Daniel Beals

Daniel Beals is an award-winning journalist and photographer who started his career at ABC21. He is a Michigan native and graduate of Grand Valley State University. Daniel welcomes any story idea. Feel free to reach out: dbeals@wpta21.com.

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