JEFFERSON, La. -- After a local veteran saw a high-speed police chase end in a crash Thursday night, he didn’t hesitate to help a Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputy.
"You know, you don't think twice,” 50-year-old Doug Thomas said Friday. “You just go.”
A veteran who served in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, Thomas said he deserves no praise, because he did what any other veteran would do.
Tire marks, a broken tail light and ripped pieces of wood from a downed power pole, still littered the levee on River Road. The fence of a home across the street is still ripped open.
Thomas saw a car being chased by Jefferson Parish deputies in two units. That's when the driver of the stolen car steered off of River Road near the back of Ochsner Hospital, onto the levee to get away. Police followed.
"I was like, 'OK, this is not going to end good.' And then I looked in my rearview mirror and I saw the sheriff's SUV sort of go sideways,” Thomas said.
One of the police cars first collided with a Chevrolet Equinox that a woman from Jefferson Parish, who was not part of the chase, was driving. Then the police car crashed into and knocked down a utility pole.
"I saw where he hit the pole and that's whenever I got out of the car. One of those, I probably shouldn't have done it, I jumped over the power line and heard it crack but it was too late then," Thomas remembers.
With the airbags deployed, Doug helped the deputy out of the car. The deputy had only one concern.
"His first thing I remember him saying, was just asking about the other lady in the car. I think he was still sort of shook up. He didn't say much at all."
Doug was injured on a Navy ship in the Persian Gulf when it was hit by an Iranian mine, so he says even with the live, downed power lines sounding like firecrackers around him, he and all 340 veterans from his uptown VFW post, would have done the same thing in a heartbeat.
"Our motto is 'Vets helping vets.' And we take it a step further than that. It's vets, we help anybody that needs help."
Because of the pending investigation, the deputy could not talk to us. He was treated and released from the hospital with minor injuries.
The stolen car got away, and the woman was not hurt.
The uptown VFW has gone from six members to 340. They are looking for all veterans to join. Click here: http://nolavfw.org/