Brave Teen Commended For Saving Mom And Three Kids From Burning Car

When 18-year-old Justin Gavin was walking down the street on a normal day, he didn't expect to become a local hero.

Now he's being commended by the Waterbury Police Department for his swift actions, which saved the lives of a mother and her three children.

The incident started when Justin noticed a small SUV drive by him in flames, the face of a small girl visible in the window.

He and other onlookers yelled and honked at the driver in warning, but it became clear that while she knew of the danger, she was struggling to stop the vehicle.

Without thinking, Justin ran after the car, catching up when it was finally brought to a stop.

"I just felt like if I was in that situation, I would want somebody to help me out."

"I guess my instincts took over," Justin told CNN.

He helped the mom, Latrisha Chambers, out of the driver's seat before returning for the three kids in the back.

The kids, ages nine, four, and one, barely got clear before the vehicle was fully engulfed.

To show appreciation, Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo invited Justin to his office and presented him with a challenge coin to commemorate his brave action.

"I hope that when you have that coin it just reminds you of this day and you can reflect back on all the good that came out of this for you and that family that you saved," he said.

The coins are usually reserved only for officers, but Justin earned one of his own.

The event has made a huge impact on Justin, who had recently dropped out of school. Now he's motivated to go back and work hard to become a first responder.

"I probably most likely will join the police force or become a firefighter," he told NBC Connecticut, "Because after yesterday I feel like there’s more people that can be helped."

h/t: NBC Connecticut, CNN

Filed Under: