An Ocala Police officer who was recently honored for saving a man from a burning home and another driver escaped with minor injuries Monday in a traffic crash that left both vehicles heavily damaged.
The crash took place at the intersection of S.E. 17th Street and S.E. 22nd Avenue. All westbound lanes were closed from S.E. 25 th Avenue to S.E. 22nd Avenue. Officer Jordan Pagano and Ocala resident James Montgomery were transported to a local hospital, where it was determined that their injuries weren’t life threatening.
The front end of Pagano’s police cruiser was smashed and came to rest off the roadway. Montgomery’s heavily Jeep Wrangler came to rest near the intersection of S.E. 17th Street and S.E. 22nd Avenue. No additional information about the crash was available Friday night.
Pagano was honored at a recent Ocala City Council meeting with the 2019-20 Florida Police Chiefs Association Lifesaving Award. He received a standing ovation from Councilmembers, city staff and members of the audience for his heroic actions. The award was presented by the FPCA Region 17 assistance director, High Springs Police Chief Antoine Sheppard.
Pagano responded to a 911 call in early January about a possible house fire in the 900 block of N.W. 9th Street. When the rookie officer arrived, he found a 62-year-old man inside the home, which was engulfed in flames. Pagano pulled the man to safety and stayed with him until an ambulance arrived. The man was then transported to UF Health Shands Hospital after suffering burns on his hand and smoke inhalation, a report states.