Retired police office rescues 3 year old in massive wreck - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Retired police office rescues 3 year old in massive wreck


The life of 3-year-old Dakota Joyner changed forever Friday, while riding in her parents' SUV on Interstate 516. Savannah-Chatham police say a pickup truck crossed the Interstate's median, slamming into Stephen and Camie Joyner's vehicle. The couple did not survive the crash. Stephen was 29. Camie was 31. The lived in Brooklet. 

Today, WTOC spoke with a retired police officer who happened to be in the right place at a crucial time.

Stephen E. Murphy was on his way to take his wife to the doctor when he came up on the massive I-516 wreck.

"I checked the pulse of the two adults in the car," he said Saturday. "Unfortunately, I couldn't find a pulse on either one of them."

But the little girl in the backseat, Dakota, seemed to have hardly a scratch on her. Drivers were pulling over, running up to help. Murphy asked one of them if he had a knife.

"She was kind of pinned in and the car was smoking, and I knew I had to get her out of that car."

Murphy cut her car seat out. 

"I just tried to get her away from that," he said. "She didn't need to see that." 

Retired from both the military and police work, Murphy is working on his Ph.D in clinical psychology and wants to be a therapist for soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

"I just want to help people," he said. "It's what I've done all my life."

Memorial University Medical Center won't release Dakota's condition, because she is a minor, but she is believed to be doing well.

Police say Bloomingdale resident Trever Cannon, 22, was driving the truck that hit the Joyner family. They say he was speeding. He has been released from the hospital. No word yet on whether he'll be charged in the couple's deaths.

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