Dallas police are praising a dozen bystanders who rushed to help an officer critically injured Monday when a collision sent his patrol car airborne and then crashing down into an Oak Cliff creek about 30 feet below.
Following the crash, video shared with NBC 5 shows nearly a dozen people who scrambled down a hillside and into a creek bed where together they worked to stabilize the toppled vehicle.
Police hailed the quick response from the "brave and caring citizens" as inspiring. "The love from our community is truly inspiring," the department said.
The officer, responding to a burglary call, was driving south in the 3100 block of South Westmoreland Drive near West Keist Boulevard at about 2:15 p.m. when a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck failed to yield and T-boned the squad car, sending the officer's car into Fivemile Creek, police said.
"All of a sudden we heard this loud crash," said witness Lenora Jefferson. "The officer was minding his own business, and then all of sudden we just saw those two collide, and the officer's car became airborne and went into the creek, the ravine."
"I immediately got on the phone to call 911 and told them they needed to get some officers here because one of their comrades had been involved in a crash, and he's in that creek there — and I think it's awful — and they needed to get here as soon as they can, quickly. And they were here quickly," Jefferson said.
Dallas police said the officer, identified Tuesday as Sr. Cpl. Dale Ordogne, was transported to Methodist Dallas Medical Center with critical injuries. His condition is stable, police said.
Dallas Police Department spokesman Sgt. Warren Mitchell said officers continue to search for the driver of the truck, who fled the scene after the crash. He also said there may have been more than one person in the truck at the time.
Police don't yet know whether the driver intentionally struck the officer's vehicle, and the investigation is ongoing.
Several fellow officers were seen entering the hospital Monday evening.
Benji Rogers works nearby and was one of the good Samaritans who rushed down to help. He used to work in law enforcement, he said, and his instincts immediately kicked in.
"I knew nobody. Nobody knew me. And everybody was on the same page," Rogers said. "Even in today's society with everything that is going wrong, that's the right thing to do, absolutely. And I wouldn't have thought twice. Everybody just helped out like they're supposed to."
In response to an NBC 5 tweet showing the bystanders' video, Dallas police said Monday evening: "Thank you to these brave and caring citizens who ran to the aid of one of our officers today. The love from our community is truly inspiring."
NBC 5's Holley Ford contributed to this report.