Citrus Co. man saved from wreck thanks deputies

Posted at 8:01 PM, Mar 08, 2016

Charlie Boyd spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in the hospital.

He's undergone nine surgeries, including one to remove staples Tuesday morning.

Boyd has also been able to celebrate his 23rd birthday.

He's been able to attend all these joyous moments and celebrations thanks to 10 Citrus County deputies who risked their owns lives just days before Thanksgiving to save Boyd's life.

"They gave me a second chance at life," said Boyd.

On Tuesday night, Sheriff Jeff Dawsy awarded Deputies Dawn Alexander, Geoffrey Blotz, Kevin Brunk, Kyle Ferguson, Benjamin Long, Shannon Pillips, Marcial Rodriguez, Dale Strickland, Bryan Vick and Paul Viggiano for their bravery.

He also honored firefighters Ryan Blevins and Vincent Lanzarone.

The deputies and firefighters worked together to pull Boyd from an upside down minivan in the southbound lanes of U.S. 19 in Homosassa. The minivan was engulfed in flames. Boyd was trapped inside. The dashboard collapsed on his legs. He could feel his feet burning.

As some deputies used their fire extinguishers to try and put out the flames, some deputies who were only wearing their uniforms, crawled into the burning car and pulled Boyd to safety, saving his life.

Making the rescue even more dangerous, Boyd had ammunition in his car. The heat sent those bullets flying but the deputies refused to leave his side.

"I am so excited," Boyd explained of meeting his rescuers.

ABC Action News first spoke to Boyd at Tampa General Hospital on November 27.

At the time, doctors believed they would have to amputate his feet.  They said it was unlikely he would ever walk again.

ABC Action News arranged for Boyd to surprise his rescuers during the award ceremony in Citrus Springs.  Joined by his mother, Boyd stunned the crowd by walking into the ceremony on his own.  He was expected to be in a wheelchair.

He had no chair but he did have a sense of humor.

"I was a size 15 before the accident, now I am a size 12.5," he said while laughing.

According to Boyd, his large feet are what doctors say allowed him to recover.  He plans on getting back to running in the coming weeks.