A homeless man who witnessed an officer-involved car crash that resulted in the death of a woman and injured her two young children is being hailed as a hero after pulling the officer from his burning vehicle.
According to The Houston Chronicle, a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy was chasing a driver suspected of an armed robbery spree when he collided with a woman’s black Kia in the intersection of Laura Koppe and Lockwood, causing at least five more vehicles to be struck in the aftermath of the crash.
The impact caused the deputy’s car to erupt into flames, and the suspect is reportedly still on the run.
PEOPLE has reached out to the Houston Police Department for additional information and comment, but has not heard back by the time of publication.
Johnny Walker, who was reportedly working near a store where the accident took place, jumped in when he heard the collision, telling local outlet ABC13’s Courtney Fischer, “I’m homeless. I was doing some work for someone. I was taking some tools back when I heard ‘boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.’
“I ran out here to see what it is and I saw a lot of cars, but I paid attention to the fire. My instincts were to go to that car and help him out, because he was crushed in on both sides,” Walker explained.
“Nobody was trying to make an effort, so when I went on one side, couldn’t get in. I jumped over the car, two more youngsters came and jumped behind me,” Walker continued. “We pulled him. I opened the door and got him out. We picked him up, put him over the car, took him inside the store.”
Walker’s heroic efforts undoubtedly helped save the deputy’s life.
“I think I was at the right place at the right time, being homeless,” Walker said, tearfully adding that he wished he could have helped the woman who died.
Heather Dubrow Reflects on Her Relationship with Dr. Terry Dubrow After 25 Years of Marriage
According to ABC13, the deputy was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital along with three other victims who suffered minor injuries. The two children were also taken to the hospital; the 5-year-old is reportedly in critical condition, while the 2-year-old is stable.
“Sometimes you have to make a choice. That car was on fire. I could lose my life,” Walker recalled. “I didn’t know who was in the other car. My heart just goes out to them and their family.”
Walker’s story doesn’t end there, though.
The Good Samaritan’s family was told that he may have been killed in a stabbing around Christmas, prompting his loved ones to search hospitals and morgues for weeks to no avail, per local news station KHOU11.
However, Walker’s sister, Monica Collins, recognized him on the news while he was being interviewed about the crash, and she eventually found him near the scene after weeks of searching for him.
She has since set up a GoFundMe for Walker.
“He’s a good hearted person that has been through a lot of hard times,” wrote Collins. “Our goal is to help him find resources for counseling and a home.”
Not everyone would’ve gotten involved in a police officer’s business — so this man is truly a hero.