Deputy saves 2 from burning car

Published 2:06 pm Friday, July 14, 2017

A Washington Parish sheriff’s deputy saved two women from a burning car Friday morning, according to Chief Deputy Mike Haley of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Haley said that Deputy Ronnie Manning was serving civil papers in the Lee’s Creek Road area Friday morning, when he spotted smoke as he passed by Quave Road. Manning turned around, drove down Quave Road, and spotted an upside-down burning automobile in the edge of the woods. Screams were coming from inside the burning vehicle.

Deputy Ronnie Manning’s quick actions saved the women’s lives Friday, Chief Deputy Mike Haley said.

Haley said that Manning rushed to the car and discovered two women who were trapped inside as the front of the car burned. He retrieved a hammer from his WPSO vehicle, broke out the rear window of the car and brought them to safety. Neither woman had injuries.

Manning saved the two women from certain death, but they did not escape arrest, Haley said. Responding patrol deputies arrested the driver, Bridget Stogner, 34, a resident of Clayton Street in Bogalusa, for driving while intoxicated and careless operation of a motor vehicle. The passenger, Brittany Rebecca Purvis, 30, a resident of Ontario Avenue in Bogalusa, was arrested for possession of Schedule IV drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. As of early Friday afternoon, bond had not been set for either woman.

“I was on the scene and talked with Deputy Manning about his heroic deed,” Chief Deputy Mike Haley said. “In a very humble manner, he simply indicated that he was only doing his job. A retired Bogalusa firefighter, Deputy Manning knew what to do and quickly did it.”

Sheriff Randy Seal was also quick to praise the heroic deputy.

Bridget Stogner

Brittany Purvis

“Once he realized the two women were trapped in a burning vehicle with no means of escape, Deputy Manning did not hesitate,” Seal said. “Grabbing a hammer from inside his vehicle, he quickly determined the rear window was the only avenue of escape from the spreading flames and broke out the window so the women could escape. Had it not been for his being in the right place at the right time and quickly responding to the dangerous situation, there most certainly would have been two fatalities.

“I commend Deputy Manning for his quick and decisive action. Thank you, Ronnie, for a job well done.”

All that was left of the vehicle was a burned, shattered husk.